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Chiropractic adjustments often accompany a popping or cracking sound. This natural and harmless cause and effect creates occasional moments of anxiety for people unaccustomed to experiencing the benefits of an adjustment. People sometimes think the sound originates from bones popping or cracking or rubbing together. The actual source of the sounds associated with healthy adjustments comes from pressure being released from a joint. These joints accumulate pressure where two parts of the human skeleton fit together. Most joints exist to move by their natural design. Chiropractors assess and adjust misaligned and locked up spinal vertebrae to help the spine move freely and promote improved nervous system function.

Research from 2015 helped explain the mechanism for how a chiropractic adjustment reduces stress through a quick gentle force. The adjustment slightly separates the joint by overcoming the protective muscle reflexes and reducing adhesive scar tissue formation while improving motion. This process occurs without injury to any of the tissues involved. The popping or cracking noise simply comes from gas being released from the joint when the gapping occurs. Some adjustments take place without any noise heard or felt by the patient while other adjustments release enough pressure on a joint to produce an audible sound.

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