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Chiropractic Spinal Adjustment: What was that pop?


Your spinal joints contain "grease" known as synovial fluid. This grease contains dissolved gases.

When your spine is adjusted, the spinal joints are gapped or opened, creating a vacuum within the joint. This vacuum pulls the gases out of the grease, turning the grease to foam. This release of gas is what creates the audible "pop". If there is no "popping" sound, it does not mean the adjustment was not successful, it simply means that there was no sound from the escaping gas.


That sound is not your spine "cracking" or "popping" like most people think. That sound is created by gas (in this case, nitrogen) rushing in to fill the partial vacuum created when the joints are slightly separated.

Another example of this phenomenon would be the "pop" sound you hear when the cork is taken out of a champagne bottle. Not all chiropractic adjusting techniques produce this noise. In fact, some adjusting techniques use little force and thus produce no noise at all. 8. Is it bad to "crack" your back or neck a lot?

This question is frequently asked because people associate the "cracking" or "popping" of one's back or neck with a chiropractic adjustment. The two are not the same thing. If a person has a desire to "crack" his/her neck or back it is often because one area of their spine is fixated or jammed causing another area to move too much and "pop", sometimes by itself. It's the fixated or jammed area that needs to be properly adjusted by a chiropractor so that the other parts of the spine will not be hyper mobile and noisy. When you "crack" your back you may be relieving the tension for a little while. Do you notice how it keeps coming back? That is because you are not giving yourself a specific chiropractic adjustment. The cause of the spinal tension, the fixated or jammed vertebrae, has not been corrected. Any person who makes a habit out of "cracking" or "popping" their back or neck needs to go to a Doctor of Chiropractic to have their spine checked. Even a chiropractor cannot adjust him/herself.

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