You won’t always hear a sound when you receive a chiropractic adjustment, but it is very common to hear a sound. It can be a frightening sensation, but sound is normal during an adjustment.

Sound during an adjustment is never the bone colliding with another bone. There are three actual reasons you might hear a “pop” during an adjustment:

  • Bubble cavitation: nitrogen and carbon dioxide capsules exist around joints to help them move without friction. When these capsules are adjusted into the correct position, the rapidly moving gas can create a popping sound. This is common in facet and ball joints such as in the spine, hip, and shoulder.
  • Tendons and ligaments: the soft tissue that connects muscles to bones and bones to other bones is often slightly out of place During an adjustment, your tendons and ligaments might move over each other back into their proper position, creating a pop or a cracking sound. This is common in the ankles, knees, elbows, and wrists.
  • Arthritis: patients with arthritis might notice more noise during and adjustment. This is because arthritis can cause cartilage, the padding between bones, to lose its smoothness. A rougher surface of cartilage can sometimes cause more noise, but should remain painless during an adjustment.

There is usually no discomfort to minimal discomfort during and after an adjustment. If you experience discomfort, let your chiropractor immediately know.