Is the pop necessary for our chiropractic adjustment to be effective?

Chiropractic BrightonSome people love it, some people hate it but the pop or click associated with chiropractic spinal adjustments or manipulation is thought to be the beneficial bit of chiropractic care by many people. But is this right? If a joint doesn’t pop does this mean the treatment hasn’t worked and you won’t get better.

This very question was studied recently using 40 people as guinea pigs. There pain sensitivity was measured by using a hot probe on their leg or foot. Ouch! The individuals then received a spinal manipulation and then retested to see if they could bear a hotter probe. Interestingly, the people who popped and the people who didn’t pop both had the same improvement in pain sensitivity. In other words they could bear hotter probe after treatment whether or not they’re back popped with the manipulation.

So what does this mean for you if you have chiropractic treatment? Well, essentially it means if your back doesn’t pop when we adjust it, you will still get better just as quickly. This is good news for people who don’t like the click because, as much as chiropractors like it, it doesn’t seem to make much difference. For a chiropractic technique without the clicking that we carry out here in Brighton go here to learn more about our No Click Chiropractic©.

Of course the other thing to remember from this study is that if a researcher asks you if you want to take part in an experiment to do with pain – run a mile!


The relationship of the audible pop to hypoalgesia associated with high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust manipulation: a secondary analysis of an experimental study in pain-free participants.

Bialosky JE, Bishop MD, Robinson ME, George SZ; University of Florida Department of Physical Therapy.

Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 2010; 33: 117-124.