WHAT CAUSES THE SOUND OF AN ADJUSTMENT? Actually, not all adjusting techniques produce the sound associated with popping knuckles. Some create no sound at all, some a little. Many techniques, however, do create the sound of a spinal release. What causes it? The mystery may have been solved by a British research team that took x-ray movies of people popping their knuckles. The sound appeared to be caused by gas rushing in to fill the partial vacuum created when the joints were slighting separated.

IS IT BAD TO CRACK YOUR NECK OR BACK A LOT? The desire to pop the neck or back is caused by tension from a jammed or fixated vertebra, which causes another part of the spine to compensate by moving too much and popping a lot. The jammed part should be adjusted by a chiropractor so that the rest of the spinal column will balance and stop being so movable and noisy.

SO I'M NOT ADJUSTING MYSELF? Cracking or popping your neck gives relief for a while, but soon the urge to pop or crack reappears because the cause of the spinal tension hasn't been corrected.

DO CHIROPRACTORS HAVE MEDICAL (M.D.) DEGREES? Chiropractors have Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degrees granted from chiropractic colleges. Chiropractic education are similiar in some respects and different in others because chiropractors do not prescribe drugs and medical doctors do not correct the vertebral subluxation complex.

CAN I TELL IF I HAVE A SUBLUXATION WITHOUT CONSULTING A CHIROPRACTOR? Not always. A subluxation is like a dental cavity-you may have it for a long time before symptoms appear. That's why periodic spinal checkups are so important. Although it may be possible to be sure you don't. An occasional spinal checkup is always a good idea.

AT WHAT AGE SHOULD CHIROPRACTIC BEGIN? Newborns have received spinal adjustments especially after difficult or traumatic births. There are case histories of infants close to death who were adjusted in hospitals with seemingly miraculous recoveries.

IS CHIROPRACTIC CARE ADDICTIVE? If only it were (just a little), there's be a lot less sick people around and chiropractors wouldn't get patients who last saw a chiropractor a few years ago when my back went out. It is possible to get used to feeling more balanced, less stressed and more energetic as a result of periodic chiropractic care. You may become more sensitive to your body and know when you've lost your adjustment.

CAN I GO ONLY ONCE? Of course. Once is better than never. But chiropractic can help in so many ways. Why not ask your chiropractor about your personal spinal care needs?

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I STOP GOING? Spine and nerves stress will continue to build up as before, but it won't be reduced or eliminated. If the stress is not relieved, your body and overall health will suffer.

IS CHIROPRACTIC SIMILAR TO MASSAGE? No. Chiropractic deals with the spinal column, nervous system, meninges and body structure. Massage therapists deal with muscle tension, circulation and body fluid drainage.

DO CHIROPRACTORS WORK IN HOSPITALS? Today chiropractors have privileges in many hospitals. Ideally, doctors of chiropractic would go through every ward and check all patients' spines; after all, who needs healthy spines more than people facing life threatening diseases? The presence of D.C..s in hospitals is a welcome beginning-hopefully paving the way toward making drugless, natural methods of chiropractic care available to all hospital patients.

CAN A PERSON WHO HAD BACK SURGERY SEE A CHIROPRACTOR? Yes. It's an unfortunate fact that up to half of those who had spinal surgery discover a return of their original symptoms months or years later. They then face the prospect of additional surgery. This too-common occurrence is known as Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. Chiropractic may help prevent repeated operations.

CAN CHIROPRACTIC PREVENT BACK SURGERY? In a majority of cases the answer is a resounding Yes.

CAN A PERSON WITH A BROKEN BACK OR NECK SEE A CHIROPRACTOR? After the break heals, yes. In fact, a broken bone forms a callus or bone scar when it heals that is stronger than the rest of the bone. This should dispel any concerns about the safety of an adjustment. People who have had broken bones need chiropractic checkups because accidents usually cause spinal subluxations.

IS CHIROPRACTIC SAFE? Chiropractic is among the safest of the healing of arts. As proof, one merely has to compare malpractice rates between chiropractors and other health professionals. Chiropractors malpractice premiums are a small fraction of those for medical doctors, especially othopedists and surgeons.

CAN I GO TO A CHIROPRACTOR IF I'M UNDER MEDICAL CARE? Yes. Having your subluxations corrected is important, no matter what other types of health care you are receiving. Today many D.C.s and M.D.s are quite likely to have patients who are under chiropractic care; in fact many medical doctors see a doctor of chiropractic themselves.

DO CHIROPRACTORS BELIEVE IN MEDICINE AND SURGERY? Certainly, as Norman Cousins says: There are times when intervention in the form of medicine or surgery is absolutely necessary but there is never a time when the nourishment one puts into one's body or one's mind is not essential to health. Chiropractors would add spinal care to Mr. Cousin's observation.

CAN SPINES AUTOMATICALLY GO BACK INTO PLACE? Yes. There are verified instances of blind people recovering eyesight after a fall, of individuals able to walk again their wheelchair was thrown and of amnesiacs who remember their past after receiving a trauma-these are examples of accidental adjustments. A visit to the chiropractor is a lot safer.

Also, many types of therapy, including massage and various body works, can reduce musculoskeletal stress, sometimes permitting the spine to automatically realign, as will a cathartic emotional release. Occasionally, even a good nights sleep can correct a subluxation.

I'M NOT SICK. SHOULD I SEE A CHIROPRACTOR? Yes. Symptoms are not a good way to judge health. They sometimes surface after years of body malfunction.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET A SPINAL ADJUSTMENT? The answer is As soon as you develop subluxations. But since subluxations are often painless, it's good to get your spine checked periodically, as you get your teeth checked periodically for painless cavities.

1.Cousins, N. The healing heart. New York: Avon Books, 1984.