What Causes The Popping Sound At The Chiropractor?

So you’ve probably seen my videos where I am adjusting my patients and you may wonder “what is actually making that pop sound?”

I’m not actually caring about the sound effects. That’s the least of my worries. It really comes down to the cause. What I’m actually doing is more movement, therefore allowing the body to function normally again, at its optimum, rather than being stuck, and over working in certain areas more than others.

So I’ll be really looking for those joints that are not functioning optimally, that have a bit more stiffness in them or a reduction in range of movement.

When I find those joints, by putting a specific movement through there, it may create a little popping sound often. The reason is because in those joints, if they haven’t been moving for a while, some gas builds up in the joints. Those tissues are still alive so they release gases in the body anyway. So when I put that movement through the joint, some of the gas can get released and it makes a popping sound.

Often that popping sound has been misunderstood, and instead described as a cracking. I get asked “Can you crack my bones?”

Hopefully not! Because if I do crack your bones, that’s technically a fracture.

So by moving those bones we are adjusting the joint thereby improving its range of movement and achieving optimal function.

Now you may often hear some different pops when you’re moving around some cracks and clicks. In those cases it may be due to some tight tendons flicking over a bone. That’s not quite the same as what we often create in our patients. The noise that you hear is often that the popping sound is created from the joints moving, and the gas releasing from between the joints.

But then also when I put a movement through a joint and I don’t hear a pop it doesn’t mean it didn’t work.

The sound is not the important part. What is important is the movement that we have now achieved in that joint, i.e. the function.

 I also have some people tell me that tell me they crack their joints themselves.

But you to avoid doing that yourself, because even for me, I can’t, and it’s impossible for me to align or adjust my own joints that need them the most.

It’s impossible for me to actually generate the force required on those stiff joints that needs that movement.

Instead I will often go to see my own colleagues to get adjusted, rather than attempt it myself.

I would encourage you to do the same. If you are trying to adjust yourself, it is not really an adjustment. That movement is likely to go through space or a joint has already got too much movement anyway. So all you are doing in the long term is exacerbating the problem.

Should You Be Worried About Clicking In Your Body?

Have you noticed that your body might click if you move a certain way, ankles might click, or the wrists might click.

See the body does click in different ways for different reasons. The most common reason for clicking if it’s been from your movement is a tendon flicking over a bone. A tendon is a piece of connective tissue that connects a muscle belly to a bone so that it can control movement of the joint.


If the muscle fibres are tight due to poor posture, poor stretching habits or lifestyle choices, the tendons become more taut. This can lead the the tendon flicks over a bit of bone, creating that clicking sensation.


The most common area I have found this to be, is in the shoulder area. There are a lot of muscles around the shoulder girdle which are prone to become tight and causing such tendons to click or flick.

If it happens for a short while, it is not a problem. However if it continues to happen for a few days, weeks, months or even years doing movements where you keep getting this type of clicks can put increased risk of inflammation of the tendon – tendonitis. This can be quite painful, you may need to stop some of the activities that are aggravating that for some time until it has recovered.

It’s often a relatively easy fix, by reducing the tightness in the muscle. Chiropractors and Osteopaths also check the underlying reason for why that muscle is tightening up in the first place. Without doing that, the muscle is likely to keep tightening.  

Another reason for your joints to click is if some joints are stiff, other joints may have to overcompensate by moving more than normal. This may lead to some gas in that joint releasing, creating a popping sound.

This is similar to the sound you hear when having a chiropractic or osteopathic adjustment. The difference however is that when your body does it on its own, it’s more likely the joints that are already working too hard are moving. When a chiropractor or osteopath performs this technique, it is specific to the joints that are stiff and so they require the additional movement to restore balanced functional movement back into the body.

How To Fix A Trapped Nerve

I often get asked if I can help someone suffering with a trapped nerve.

In short – YES!

However, how do we know exactly what the “trapped nerve” is?

A lot of people may experience pain, numbness, tingling, pins and needles, loss of power – all these types of symptoms if it is a trapped nerve.

But the real question is where is it being trapped?

Until you find the exact point where the nerve is being trapped, there is no proper way of resolving it. These types of conditions are biomechanical meaning it’s a physical problem, so no tablet, no cream, no drug is going to change the biomechanical challenge of pinch.

To resolve it, there needs to be a physical movement to that area to untrap or unpinch the affected nerve.

I prefer calling it pinched rather than trapped.

It’s very much like when you have lights in a building, to turn a light on that’s in the ceiling, you need to go to a switch on the wall. The reason that works is because we all know there is a wire that goes from the switch to the light communicating what to do. If that wire was pinched somewhere when you go to turn the light on by pressing the switch on the wall, it won’t turn on.

Other causes could be the light bulb itself may need replacing, or the fuse in the fusebox may have been tripped, or there may be a power outage at the mains for the whole street.

That’s just like what happens with our body.

When you look at the spine, the nervous system that is housed inside, and those nerves that exit the spine supply everything in the body.

The nerves in the lower back (lumbar spine) supply the legs

Those nerves in the mid back (thoracic spine) supply most of your organs.

And the nerves in the neck (cervical spine) supply the head and arms.

If you experience any pain, numbness, tingling, loss of power, pins and needles, it may not be a local problem, i.e. where you are experiencing those symptoms. There may be a link back to somewhere else in the spine where the nerves are coming from. Or it may be higher up in the central nervous system.

So until you find that mechanical challenge your body is experiencing on those nerves, no drugs, no tablets, no cream is going to relieve that pressure. Not even some exercises, because they may aggravate the issue if you haven’t dealt with the root cause.

Although there isn’t an exercise that I can give you to relieve a trapped nerve, what I can say with confidence is that it well worth visiting a local professional who specialises, like a chiropractor or an osteopath, in finding the source of your problem.

It’s really important to find the source of the trapped nerve, because only then can you release the pinching of the nerve, allowing the nerve flow to correctly supply the body again.

We have to also consider how long you have had the pinched nerve. Because the longer the nerve has been pinched, the more potential weakness you can get, with regards to the signals into those areas.

Before I treat any patient, or even examine them, we go through a full case history. This helps me find out more information about their symptoms, their health history, their lifestyle goals.

I then will also carefully examine the patient. You can often see in my videos where I treat my patients, that I check which specific level in the spine needs the adjustment, which releases the tension in the joints, the pressure on the nerves, restoring normal nerve function back in the body.

Research has also found that by adjusting a level in the spine that is affecting a nerve supplying a part of the body, that the body then sends messages back to the nervous system, further strengthening the connections – it’s like a complete electrical circuit.

Very similar to your broadband. Although your internet service provider sends the bulk of the data to your building, your modem will fire back little messages letting the ISP know it’s there. So our body is like the building, and the ISP is our nervous system, which are sending messages back and forth to each other.

Like most things, once things are working well, there is always a risk that the pinching may return, or a new injury may occur. Regular check ups reduce the risk of recurrence.

For longer term relief we need to also consider lifestyle choices along side regular maintenance where appropriate.

Low Back Pain – what no one tells you

5 min read

Have you, or do you know someone who has been suffering with low back pain for a short while or a really, really long time, perhaps for many years?

Most people suffering with low back pain get very concerned, really stressed and worried. Quite rightly so! The pain is a good indication that something is wrong with the body, and needs urgent attention.

A lot people tend to contact loved ones for tips or advice. Others may look online for an attempt at a self diagnosis. However the best thing to do in any case is seek professional advice.

I see thousands of patients every year suffering with low back pain, or some sort of symptoms. At the first meeting they often tell me “Trishul, I’ve tried everything!”

That’s when I will take down a detailed case history, asking questions about what they have been up to, what has been going on in their lives seeking the possible cause of their symptoms.

I will also ask about what they have tried, what makes it feel better or worse. They may have tried painkillers, heat, ice, certain exercises, some gadgets or supports. Due to sheer desperation to find relief they attempt all these things, sometimes at the same time, causing even more confusion and chaos within the body. Ultimately in a lot of cases these leads to a point where they are in a state not able to fix the problem themselves.

Some people get very worried about seeking professional advice, as if by chance if they don’t confirm a diagnosis, then it may not actually exist. (This is madness in my opinion!)

The sooner you get a professional diagnosis, the better the prognosis (chances of improving the condition) and the more efficient it is to get onto the correct path to fix the problem.

I was speaking with someone recently who told me they had been taking a whole bunch of painkillers. I explained that painkillers are not going to help the problem in the long term, because their condition was not due to a deficiency in painkillers. In fact I have yet to meet someone who has a deficiency in painkillers (no such condition exists).

Another person I spoke with said they were not sure why they suddenly had this pain, because they had done nothing out of the ordinary. However, the thing they had not understood is whatever they had been doing, in terms of any lifestyle choices they had made, was slowly but surely leading them on a path where their body could no longer compensate, and therefore ending up with this enormous pain!

We get everything checked regularly to prevent problems, from teeth and eyes, to cars and heating boilers in your home. Your spine and body are the same! (Most people probably look after their cars better than their own body). By having regular check ups, it increases your chance of preventing a problem from occurring in the first place. In the off chance that a problem occurred anyway, then because of those regular check ups they get picked up quicker, meaning the prognosis is better – yay!

However if you are already in a lot of discomfort then we need to find the root cause of your problem. You would never expect a surgeon to ask you to jump up onto the surgery table to perform surgery at your first consultation without first having taken the time to go through a full case history, a thorough examination and determine the best course of care for you. The same is true for your chiropractor or osteopath. Before I treat any patient, the reason I have been able to achieve great results is by carefully analysing that patient’s condition, and prescribe the best solution for their problem based on published research and my years of experience.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on any of my socials and I will always take the time to help you out.