Chiro Corner: What's that Popping Noise?

Kristen Arlt
May 10, 2018

As a chiropractor,  I often inherit the nickname “back cracker”. This is a typical way to picture chiropractic care, but I want you to know that I am not “cracking” anything.

I have had quite a few patients ask what the “popping” noise is when they are getting adjusted. In this day and age of information readily available at your fingertips, most people have watched a few youtube videos on adjustments before coming to the office…this is sure to freak you out a little. I have also watched a few of those videos, and I will tell you, right here and right now, I have never heard that many pops from one person before in all of my years of care.

The “pop” you hear when you get a manual adjustment by a chiropractor is gas releasing from between the joints that are stuck. For example, if you were to open a champagne bottle, it would make a popping noise because of the pressure built up inside the bottle. The same thing happens when joints get locked up, or stuck. This pressure is released as a “popping” noise when the locked up joint is relieved with a manual adjustment. I like to explain it like a suction cup, same theory, when you release the pressure you hear a noise. The following article does a great job of explaining the “pop” and a little more about “subluxation” as well. Check it out here.

On a similar note, some patients have reservations about getting an adjustment because they think the pressure of the adjustment may hurt. I can tell you, in my experience, that few patients have felt pain during an adjustment. Some describe it as a feeling of surprise  right when the adjustment happens because it is a quick motion; however, the surprise is usually followed by relief and release of pressure.

Hopefully this information helped ease some of your minds about chiropractic theories and “back crackers.” If you have any questions feel free to message our office or give us a call, we would be happy to help.

Kristen Arlt is the chiropractor at Total Wellness Chiropractic, an HMSA Discounts participant. Visit for details.

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