The Chiropractic Adjustment:
What’s With The Popping?

Most people are confused about Chiropractic and how it works.  Truthfully, most people aren’t worried about the reason it works, they just know it makes them feel better, and for some odd reason, tends to clear up other health issues they’ve been dealing with such as headaches, constipation, IBS, the list goes on.  While some have the ‘ignorance is bliss’ attitude toward chiropractic, this lack of understanding is a big reason why many people hesitate to seek out chiropractic for their ailments.  So let me put your mind at ease about some common chiropractic questions.

First, the “popping” sound, medically known as a cavitation, is no more than a gas bubble being released from the joint space as it’s taken past its typical end range of motion for a brief instant.  It is not your bones cracking together.  In fact, the spongy material that prevents your bones from rubbing together, the cartilage, greatly benefits from this increase in motion and delays the degeneration of this cartilage.  There are other techniques chiropractors can use that will not result in this popping sound if you just can’t get comfortable with this, and you can still benefit from the wonderful results our patients see.

“I can pop my own back, thank you very much.  I don’t need to pay someone to do that.”  As a chiropractor I’ve heard this a lot.  The key that most people don’t understand is how specific the chiropractic adjust should be.  It’s a matter of getting a specific segment moving, while stabilizing those that are compensating for its lack of movement.  Simply put, if one joint in your body isn’t moving enough, another one will move too much in an attempt to make up for the lack of motion, both scenarios increase your risk of injury and early degeneration.  When you do pop your own spine, what you are likely doing is moving the already increased mobile segments, which will give you temporary relief.  Because the fixated segment, also known as a subluxation, still isn’t moving, the muscles around that segment again tighten up and you feel the need to pop your back 30 minutes later.  If you find yourself popping your own back a half a dozen times a day, you are creating instability in the spine which will put you at an increased risk for injury.

This explanation still doesn’t explain how chiropractic cures other health issues like ear infections in babies, or constipation in adults.  The reason lies in the power of your nervous system.  The function of every organ, tissue, and cell requires your nervous system to function properly.  When functioning properly, your nervous system has the ability to heal tears, fight disease, and handle stress.  However, when you have segments of the spine that aren’t moving properly, the area around these joints get irritated.  You now have inflammation and irritation that are surrounding the spinal cord and nerves around that segment.  This irritation typically causes the nerve to “over react” and the outcome depends on the destination of the irritated nerves.  Some nerves go to muscles, so you get muscle spasms or tightness.  Some nerves go to the large intestine, so you get a spasm of the intestine which results in constipation.  Regardless, there IS going to be some form of irritation which will cause the body to not function properly.  With specific adjustments, the Chiropractic Physician can restore proper motion, therefore, restoring proper function by decreasing the irritation to the nervous system.  The true healing is done by the person’s nervous system, not by the adjustment.

If you are looking for clear answers on the internet, be prepared to sift through a sea of bogus claims, evidence lacking articles written by people who are regurgitating poorly written blogs, and information that is bias for better or for worse.  Do your health a favor and leave it up to the professionals.