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What Really Cracks When a Chiropractor Adjusts Your Spine

Updated on February 26, 2010

What is that popping sound?

When the Chiropractor adjusts your spine, you probably heard some "popping" sounds, also sounds like a crack. Joints will produce a sound when gas or bubbles flow into the surrounding joints. The bones in your body are connected together with ligaments and other types of connective tissues. These joints are surrounded by a fluid called synovial fluid, which is a thick, clear-like liquid.

When the chiropractor adjusts your neck, back, or other joints, this puts pressure on those joints to pull apart and slightly separate. When this happens, the tissues are stretched and subsequently increases in volume. As this volume increases, the pressure decreases and the gases become less soluble. This forms gas through a process called cavitation. When the joint reaches a point to where it is stretched enough, the gas bubbles will burst causing the popping sound (or the "crack").

Once this gas escapes from the joint, it takes the body about 30 minutes for the gas to absorb back into the joint (thus making it possible to hear the sound again in your back is adjusted).

Is it bad for you?

When done in moderation, this cracking or popping sound is just a byproduct of the adjustment performed by the chiropractor and is safe. A study done by Raymond Brodeur and published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics looked at people that were habitual knuckle crackers/poppers and found that there was no correlation between how much a person pops his or her knuckles and arthritis. They did, however, find that there were other types of damage to the soft tissues due to the constant stretching.

Where can I get adjusted in Utah?

If you're looking for a good chiropractor and would like to know more about the benefits of Chiropractic care, please visit a great Provo Chiropractic office. They also have Massage Therapy Utah Provo available.

The office also has a blog about Chiropractic Care and is mentioned in a few blogs about where to find a provo chiropractor.


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    • restrelax profile image


      6 years ago from Los angeles CA

      chiropractor adjusts your neck, back, or other joints, this puts pressure on those joints to pull apart and slightly separate. When this happens, the tissues are stretched and subsequently increases in volume

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 

      6 years ago from London

      Some great information, thanks. I was wondering, if stretching joints too much is bad for joints ultimately (I think you mean in terms of connective tissue disorders - is that correct?), then does that mean that visiting a chiropractor often is actually a bad idea?

    • restrelax profile image


      6 years ago from Los angeles CA

      Really very good source of info regarding chiropractor. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Mark Collins 

      8 years ago

      Yes, you are correct about the popping sound. I had better success with my upper cervical chiropractor than I did with a traditional chiropractor. I would recommend anyone to look up upper cervical before their next chiropractic appointment.

    • profile image

      Chiro San Francisco 

      8 years ago

      This is a good source of information, is it still good if I stretched and I heard that popping sounds? Thanks for this helpful post!


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