What is that “popping” noise?

A lot of people come in and they know that they get their joints popped but I want to describe what is happening with that and how it effects the entire system. So the question is What IS that “popping” noise?

So what IS it?

Any where that bone meets bone there’s fluid in between and a capsule around it. The popping noise that you hear is just the stretching of that capsule and if we look at the bones in the spine they all stack up on top of each other. In all of the spine bone meets bone, so there is a lot of joints that can make that noise.

Whenever we are doing your adjustment and that joint capsule is stretching what we are really trying to do is regain normal motion and alignment. If there is rotation and it is fixated the wrong way, we are working on getting everything back to the center and regain normal motion. When we are doing that sometimes these joint capsules stretch and they “pop”.

So what does that mean?

There are a couple things that can play into that. Lets say that you are out of alignment. Normally if you were in alignment, you compress during the day and when you get home and lay down at night you decompress. The discs are like sponges and they press down and they retain fluid. When you are out of alignment, they are stuck and in return you compress during the day and are not able to decompress when you lie down. When that happens the disc gets more and more dehydrated which leads to disc degeneration.

Whenever we are trying to regain normal range of motion we are also trying to get good spacing for the nerves to function. If we look at the feeling vs function chart (pictured below) it shows the nerve and a certain part goes to sensory. Some of the nerve goes to pain (when you feel that something is not right). Out of that nerve, a high percentage goes to motor control which is more important that just feeling a sensation.

We also have a lot of our nerve go to autonomic nerve, meaning organ function. We will have someone come in who is out of alignment and I can feel that their lower back is locked up. As we try to move forward to get them out of pain, I will ask them if they are having any gut issues. The nerves in your lower back effect your bowels and bladder. We have had patients deal with being constipated or have diarrhea that are only due to being out of alignment.

When we are “popping” the joints all we are trying to do is get normal alignment and normal function so that your discs can stay healthy. We also want to get you out of pain, have normal function and your nerves can work properly so your system can run the way that it needs to.


If you have any questions let us know and we can try to answer as many as we can with future videos and blog posts!

-Dr. Dustin Bergeron

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