Does Hearing a “Pop” indicate a “Good Adjustment”? (by Dr Angus Southwell CHIROPRACTOR)
Popping and Cracking are just a few words that usually come to mind when someone mentions the word Chiropractic but what does it mean when you don’t hear the audible release after an adjustment? Does it mean the adjustment was done incorrectly?
Well the short answer is no.
The popping and cracking can be explained as the release of nitrogen gas build up within our joints. This a naturally occurring phenomenon that happens within our joints over time.
When getting your adjustment, the chiropractor is assessing the body for any restrictions within the joints in the body which may cause a disruption within the nervous system. These are commonly known as “Subluxation.” During an adjustment, the chiropractor is aiming to correct these subluxations by manipulating the joint to what it is called the “End Feel” before the chiropractor applies and gentle force in order to complete the adjustment. It is at this point that the audible release would be heard, but for some, that may not be the case.
There are many factors which can affect the release gas in our joints. One of main reasons is that there simply isn’t any gas built up in the joints either because it was released earlier prior to the adjustment whether on purpose or accidental. Although there hasn’t been many research done on factors which increases the gas build up rate in joints, however, many theories suggest that age, flexibility and gender may either speed up or slow down the gas refill rate (1).
When the adjustment is complete, the chiropractor will re-evaluate the joint to assess if the subluxation has been cleared.
- Reggars, J. W., & Pollard, H. P. (1995). Analysis of zygapophyseal joint cracking during chiropractic manipulation. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 18(2), 65–71.