By Dr. Marnie Mabee D’Andrea

“What is that popping sound”?  In my last article, I discussed the examination that happens on the first chiropractic visit.  After an examination or assessment is completed, the chiropractor will give you a treatment.  One form of treatment is an adjustment.  An adjustment is used to correct a restricted joint, or rather, to apply motion to the joint to make the joint move better.  An adjustment can be given through several different techniques.  The one treatment every chiropractor learns in school is called diversified adjusting, the treatment that makes the “pop” sound.  This is the form of treatment I will discuss further. 

Before we discuss the adjustment, let’s discuss the different phases of motion.  A normal, healthy joint moves through 3 different ranges of motion.  First, one can actively move a joint through its active range of motion.  With assistance of a healthcare provider, one can then take that same joint a little further through the passive range of motion.  Beyond passive range of motion is what is called the paraphysiological space.  Movement beyond the paraphysiological space would be considered a dislocation. 

When a chiropractor corrects a restricted joint, they will do so by using their hands to contact various points on the bones of the spine in such a way to deliver what is termed a high velocity, low amplitude thrust to the joint.  This motion takes the joint through its active motion, passive motion and then into the paraphysiological space.  Pop!   

The popping sound is the conversion of nitric oxide, which is found in the synovial fluid of the joint, from a liquid to a gas.  Current research is being done with regards to the exact physiological mechanisms that are occurring when this happens.  The video on my website that was recorded of a finger joint being adjusted during a functional MRI indicates the mechanism occurs as a result of a cavity forming while the joint is opened.

By maintaining motion of the joints in the body, we can maintain our physical activities.  Just as we maintain our vehicles with oil changes, we need to maintain mobility in our bodies and we can do this through chiropractic adjustments.  Call us today to ensure you are moving well and enjoying your summer activities!  Online booking available at