Why is there a popping sound when a joint is adjusted?

expert advice

Manipulation of a joint may result in the release of a gas bubble between the joints, which makes a popping sound. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint, which results in nitrogen gas being released. There is usually minimal, if any, discomfort involved, but it does not cause harm to the joint.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a chiropractor?

A doctor of chiropractic (DC) is a trained healthcare professional who seeks to diagnose, treat, correct and prevent musculoskeletal soft tissue dysfunction by utilizing manual and conservative procedures, including manipulation, mobilization, therapeutic modalities (ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, decompression, etc.) and therapeutic exercise.

Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?

Since chiropractors are primary healthcare providers, a referral is usually not needed to see a chiropractor. Since some health insurance plans have specific referral requirements, it is best to contact your health insurance plan directly—to determine if there are any referral requirements. Most plans allow you to just call and schedule an appointment with a chiropractor.

Is chiropractic treatment safe?

Yes. Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of musculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are very small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment, but some may experience mild soreness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current literature shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.

Can I adjust myself?

No. A chiropractic adjustment is a very specific procedure, thus it is virtually impossible to adjust yourself correctly. You may be able to forcefully twist or bend to create the popping sound common to an adjustment, but this type of self-manipulation usually does more harm than good, making an unstable condition even more unstable.

How often will I have to come for treatment?

Every patient is different and therefore every treatment plan is unique. Rarely is a patient recommended to come more than two times in one week. The doctor will develop an initial treatment plan of based upon a complete evaluation, ranging from two to six weeks. Each visit may last from 15 to 90 minutes, depending upon the necessary procedures. Furthermore, no treatment plan is written in stone and as you get better and stable the frequency of treatments decrease.

Will I have to come in for treatment forever?

No. It is our goal to get you pain-free and back to optimal function as fast as possible, usually within weeks or months. The best way to prevent recurrent pain is to follow your doctor’s recommendations, including stretches, exercises and modifications to daily activities. We do offer supportive care in the event of reoccurrence of your condition.

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