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What's That Popping Sound?

When a chiropractor cracks your joints, you may hear the sound of a joint “cracking” or “popping.”

Why does this sound occur?

A joint has fluid in it and this fluid has gases dissolved in it. These gases are derived from the air you breathe - mostly oxygen and nitrogen.

One of the effects of a chiropractic adjustment can be to open up the joint space. The adjustment relieves the pressure in the joint and the gases quickly escape the joint space and cause a popping noise.

The technical term for the popping noise that occurs with an adjustment is crepitus.

What happens to the oxygen and nitrogen once they are released? They gradually re-dissolved in the surrounding fluids over the next twenty minutes or so.

Is joint cracking (crepitus) a good thing? Yes, it is.

When performed by a chiropractor, the audible release that occurs with an adjustment is considered to indicate a beneficial response to treatment.

Can you get too many adjustments? Probably not. There's no evidence repeated chiropractic adjustments cause any harm. Regular chiropractic treatment may be beneficial in minimizing the potential for arthritis.

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