Ask a Chiropractor: What's That Popping Sound?

Welcome to Sioux Falls Chiropractic's Ask a Chiropractor series! Here we'll answer any questions you may have for us. Do you want to know what our favorite part of our job is? Do you want to know what we think is the most important aspect of chiropractic care? Ask away! We'll continue answering your questions in our blog series, so check back frequently! And subscribe!
Here's one of the first questions we received:
"Popping sounds gross me out a little bit, but not so much I can't go to the chiropractor! But it does make me curious - when my chiropractor adjusts me and there's a popping noise, is that the same as when I crack the knuckles in my fingers? Or the same as when my ankles occasionally pop if I wiggle them around? Basically, what is that popping sound? It's not bad, is it?"
- Amy, Sioux Falls

Great question Amy!

Here at Sioux Falls Chiropractic, we see patients all the time who are a little hesitant to come in for their first adjustment - often because of that popping noise!

A simple explanation regarding what's happening in your body can help ease those fears, and reassure you that the popping noise isn't bad at all.

What is Happening During a Chiropractic Adjustment?

In short, chiropractors adjust subluxations. This is an incomplete or partial dislocation of a joint (or an organ). in the patients we see, the incorrect positioning of the joint or vertebra is enough to create pain and even function loss. Your chiropractor performs an adjustment so that you will once again have full range of motion and complete function of that joint.

We're Not Cracking Bones!

When your chiropractor is adjusting the subluxation, they are not cracking your bones, but rather adjusting the joint back into it's proper place. As the adjustment is happening, your joint or joints will open up, in a way creating a cavity. In this cavity you have fluid that nourishes and cushions your joints. The fluid contains gaseous bubbles that will pop as the joint is opened up.

Think of opening a can of pop. The pop you hear is simply the gasses being released into the newly opened space. Hearing a popping sound is nothing to worry about. In fact, it is the same sound you hear when you crack your knuckles or rotate your ankle just right!

Why Don't Baby Adjustments Make a Popping Noise?

You may also wonder why you don't hear a popping noise as frequently or at all when you take your children to see the chiropractor.

Children adjust more easily than adults because their muscles, ligaments and tendons aren't as tight. This means the chiropractor uses less force to correct the subluxations. With less force, there's not always a popping noise. This doesn't mean that the adjustments are more or less successful, just that every body, and adjustment, is different!

Quick side note - did you know that a chiropractic adjustment on a newborn can be extremely beneficial? We love working with kids!

Well, Amy, we hope we answered your question! If you enjoyed this explanation and want more, don't be afraid to send us your questions! The staff here at Sioux Falls Chiropractic want to give you the best chiropractic experience possible, and that includes giving you information about your doctors and treatment options! Click the button below to ask a question, and keep an eye out on our blog for more answered questions.

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