Chiropractic adjustments are becoming increasingly popular for addressing and treating various musculoskeletal issues. One aspect that often intrigues people is the distinct audible that many refer to as a “crack” or “pop” that often occurs during the chiropractic adjustment.
The Science behind the Crack Noise
During a chiropractic adjustment, a chiropractor applies a controlled and sudden force to a specific joint in your body. This force is aimed at realigning the joint, improving its mobility, influencing nerve function and reducing pain or discomfort. When the joint is adjusted, a crack noise or cavitation can be heard.
The crack noise is not the sound of bone rubbing on or against another bone as that would be arthritis and extremely painful. Instead, the audible noise is the sound of gas bubbles (nitrogen air molecules) within the synovial fluid. When the joint is adjusted, the gas bubbles coalesce together then release with the sudden change of pressure from the adjustment. This is the cause of the distinctive crack noise. It’s similar to the “pop” when opening a Champaign bottle, the sudden change of pressure along with the air bubbles coalescing and releasing.
Crack Noise Audible Intensity
It is worth noting that not every adjustment will result in a crack noise. The intensity and frequency of the crack noise can vary depending on several factors, including the individual's joint mobility & spinal mechanics, muscle tension, joint inflammation and the technique used by the chiropractor.
The Significance of the Crack Noise
The crack noise itself does not indicate the success or effectiveness of a chiropractic adjustment. It is merely an audible byproduct of the adjustment process. A person experiencing limited range of motion or feeling of being “locked up” is usually the result of the joint. The joint may develop problems due to a past accident or injury that can result in pain and stiffness. Some of the symptoms an individual my experience is the inability to turn one’s head, difficulties straightening up or even having challenges moving in certain directions. The primary goal of a chiropractic adjustment is to restore proper alignment, improve joint & nerve function, and alleviate pain or discomfort. The absence of the crack noise does not necessarily mean the adjustment was ineffective, nor does its presence guarantee successful results.
The crack noise that occurs during a chiropractic adjustment is a natural response of your body to the sudden pressure changes within the joint. It is caused by the coalescing and release of the gas molecules within the synovial fluid. Remember, the crack noise is not the determining factor for the success of an adjustment.
About Dr. Fimreite:
Dr. Gordon Fimreite of Chiropractic in Chicago in Loop has received numerous Best Chiropractor in Chicago Honors and has been in practice for over 20 years. He is state and board certified in chiropractic and graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic, the founding college of the chiropractic profession. Dr. Fimreite is also a health enthusiast and author.
Chiropractic in Chicago Loop
77 W. Washington St., Ste. 601
Chicago, IL 60602
Phone: (312) 888-1707
Please visit our website at: https://www.drfimreite.com
Dr. Fimreite and Chiropractic in Chicago Loop’s Top Best Chiropractor in Chicago Honors (2023):