Definitely not! A qualified chiropractor looks for joints that show restricted movement, particularly in one or more given directions. The detection of these ‘joint fixations’ (traditionally called ‘subluxations’) can appear simple, however, it is not, and requires a great deal of experience, and understanding of joint biomechanics, thus should not be treated lightly.

When that joint is manually adjusted, by applying a specific, short sharp thrust in the direction of the restriction, a small amount of separation between the joint surfaces occurs, as does a small degree of movement in the direction of restriction. (Note that most spinal joints individually have only small amounts of movement, yet collectively, allows the large ranges of movement we can see in regions like the neck).  During the fraction of a second when the joint surfaces are separated, occasionally, the pressure can decrease inside the joint just enough for dissolved gasses (presumably nitrogen) to form bubbles (like opening a soft drink bottle) and can produce a popping sound.

Producing this sound IS NOT the object of the adjustment, nor should it be used as an indicator of the effectiveness of an adjustment. Our emphasis is on regaining movement in the direction of restriction by the thrust. Many think that a joint has ‘gone back into place’ if you hear a crack or noise. The truth is that joints cannot get ‘out of place’ as such, unless they are actually dislocated.  As it happens, joints that are already too mobile will generate noises more easily, hence the unqualified practitioner is more likely causing greater harm by creating that ‘popping’ noise.