The Mechanics of Adjustments Explained

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chiropractic adjustment
Many current or prospective chiropractic patients ask about the noise radiating from a Chiropractic adjustment. Patients eagerly ask about the popping and cracking sounds that occur with some adjustments. There exists a mix of curiosity and a desire to know that the sound means something beneficial.
Chiropractic adjustments release pressure. Two bones that fit together within the human skeleton meet at an intersection known as a joint. Healthy joints allow for productive, pain-free movement. Research from 2015 showed that safe and effective results were achieved when an adjustment applied the correct force, speed, and depth to a joint.
In addition, chiropractic adjustments reduce stress through application of a quick, gentle force. Adjustments slightly separate the joint to override protective muscle reflexes and reduce adhesive scar tissue formation while improving motion. Popping and cracking occur when pressurized gas within the joints release between the gaps. Audible cracking does not need to exist for an adjustment to be successful and the entire process of a stress relieving adjustment happens without injury to the joint or surrounding tissues.

Adjustments:  The Anatomy

The spine consists of 24 moveable bones called vertebrae. Chiropractors assess the alignment and movement of the vertebrae to locate any misaligned joints called subluxations. A subluxation presents as a partially dislocated joint that does not move as freely as the body intends.
Even the smallest subluxated joints in the spine play a crucial role in overall health. The spine maintains an intimate relationship with the nervous system. The spine houses and protects the spinal cord and nerves while providing openings to the spinal nerve roots exiting through each vertebra. Experts refer to the spine as a neuro-spinal organ because of the large amount of tiny neurons that heavily populate in and around the bones and joints of each vertebra.
A healthy spine allows tiny neurons to give uninterrupted feedback to the brain so that appropriate messages can be delivered to all organs on a regular basis. The science behind the spine and a Chiropractic adjustment explains why the spine negatively influences the function of so many systems and organs if not properly aligned. Scientists agree that normal spinal movement provides priceless nutrition to the brain and body.


Subluxations alter communication feedback to and from the brain. Research shows a negative effect on the autonomic nervous system when altered information comes into the central nervous system from a misaligned vertebra. A negatively influenced autonomic nervous system impacts immunity, fertility, digestion, breathing, sleep, blood pressure, heart function, and so much more.
The benefits a Chiropractic adjustment goes well beyond simple pain relief. Degenerative conditions in spinal joints occur over time just like cavities forming in teeth. Adults and children usually do not feel areas of restriction, malposition, and nerve interference in their spine until the subluxation begins producing discomfort or disease. Just as regular trips to the dentist seek to prevent cavities and tooth decay, regular trips to the Chiropractor create an opportunity for optimal spine and nervous system function that promote vibrant health for the whole family.

PLoS One April 15, 2015
“Real-time visualization of joint cavitation.”
GN Kawchuk, J Fryer, JL Jaremko, H Zeng, L Rowe, R Thompson

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