Why does your spine “pop” when during a chiropractic adjustment? During a treatment, your chiropractor will use an adjustment technique also known as a manipulation. This manipulation or adjustment often results in a popping sound. The goal of such treatment is to release tension within the joints of the back, relieve pain, and relax the surrounding musculature. There are a few explanations as to how and why the chiropractic manipulation is effective in treating pain naturally and releasing tension. An adjustment stimulates small nerve endings along the spine known as mechanoreceptors. When stimulated, these receptors can distract the brain from pain sensation. Adjustments also trigger the release of endorphins, the “feel good hormone” in the body, which can also aide in pain relief.
The spine is made up of bones called “vertebrae”, each vertebrae is comprised of a joint complex consisting of a disc, spinal “facet” joints, ligaments, and tendons. The spinal disc helps to provide cushion and shock absorption to the bones in the back, where as the facet joints facilitate movements of front to back, side to side, and rotation. These facet joints are similar to many other joints in the body. They contain cartilage and fluid within them allow the bones to glide freely across each other within the joint. They also have muscles, ligaments, and tendons attach to these joints allow the back to move. Tension and pain can build within these joints due to cartilage damage, arthritis, overworked muscles, or poor posture. Chiropractic adjustment helps to treat these issues. The popping or cracking you hear comes from gapping the facet joint. When the joint is gapped or separated for a brief second, a gaseous air bubble is released. Similar to if you were to pull a suction cup off of a surface that it is attached too. The mobilization that occurs during a manipulation can increase range of motion, decrease pain, and stimulate the nervous system. For some, this treatment can be intimidating or frightening, but when performed by a trained chiropractor who performs a thorough exam, it is a safe, effective, natural treatment for spine pain.
If you have any questions as to whether or not a chiropractic treatment is right for you feel free to comment below, or reach out to Rochester ChiroTherapy at 585-678-1153.