What’s that Sound? Frequently Asked Questions about the Chiropractic Adjustment Do you have some questions about chiropractic? We partnered up with Dr. Megan Jusich, D.C., chiropractic director of Chiro One Wellness Center of Des Plaines, to dig into some of our most frequently asked questions about the chiropractic adjustment. Check it out!

What is a chiropractic adjustment?

Also known as a spinal manipulation therapy (SMT), the chiropractic adjustment is a procedure used by highly trained doctors of chiropractic. Chiropractors perform the adjustment with their hands or a small instrument, using a specific amount of sudden force and applied in a specific direction to a specific joint. “An adjustment is a quick and gentle movement that’s not forceful or painful,” states Dr. Megan.

At all Chiro One offices, our chiropractic physicians use a specialized table to perform adjustments. “We use a gravity table to perform adjustments, which allows us to use the exact amount of force necessary for each patient’s body,” explains Dr. Megan.

What does the chiropractic adjustment do?

The goal of the chiropractic adjustment is to remove or correct subluxations. These subluxations (which can result from physical, chemical and mental stressors) occur when one or more spinal vertebrae move out of position and create stress or irritation on nearby nerves, preventing the body from functioning optimally. The chiropractic adjustment helps to eliminate any interference to the nervous system and improve spinal function and overall health.

What is that sound I hear?

Sometimes—not always—the adjustment can produce a sound. “Patients often ask, ‘What’s that “cracking” or “popping” sound?’ I explain to each patient that when we move your joints to their end range, a little bubble of gas is released from the joint capsule called joint cavitation,” shares Dr. Megan. “This release of gas (oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide) creates that “popping” sound you hear.”

Often, people who haven’t experienced chiropractic are fearful of this sound and some are afraid it’s their bones actually “cracking,” however, this isn’t true; the noise is nothing to be afraid of. Dr. Megan shares with her patients another way to understand the sound, “When you pop open a can of soda, you’ll hear a similar noise—it’s because opening the can released gas that was pressurized.”

What’s that Sound? Frequently Asked Questions about the Chiropractic Adjustment

Is the adjustment painful?

No, the adjustment isn’t painful. Some patients will experience some soreness or achiness after an adjustment, however, this is short-lived and comparable to the soreness you may feel after a workout. Often, the adjustment has the opposite effect, and it resolves or relieves pain immediately.

"In general, I find that my patients often feel relief right after their adjustment,” says Dr. Megan. “My patients often say they’re feeling better, feeling lighter, breathing better and thinking more clearly.”

Are all patients adjusted the same way?

“There are over 300 ways to adjust the spine,” says Dr. Megan. “Each patient is adjusted based on their body type and needs. Chiropractors know many different techniques to deliver the best adjustment for a specific patient.”