Cracking our joints is a habit – we crack our fingers, our knuckles, toes, backs, and necks. And let’s be honest – it feels really good, doesn’t it? We have all experienced stiffness or pressure in the neck at some point. In order to alleviate that tension, we may tilt our neck or roll our head to release that feeling of pressure.
Cracking your neck gently (no hand force) or occasionally won’t cause you any harm, but doing it incorrectly, too frequently, or too forcefully can actually cause more pain and discomfort. Let’s talk about the reasons why we crack our joints, and when it’s okay versus when we should hold back.
When neck cracking is done correctly and not too often, releasing that pressure in the joints is okay and can actually be beneficial. The satisfaction that comes with that “crack” sound is from the fluid around the joints stretching and turning to gas, giving room for your joints to breathe.
On the other hand, cracking your neck can cause more damage than there was to begin with. If you attempt to crack your neck too forcefully, you can end up pinching a nerve. A pinched nerve is extremely painful, and makes it feel difficult to move your neck. By forcefully cracking your neck you can also end up straining the muscles around your joints, and the joints themselves.
If you have the urge to crack your neck often, the ligaments in your joints can become permanently stretched, leaving you at a deeper risk to develop osteoarthritis. In some cases, cracking your neck or too often can puncture one of the many important blood vessels that live in your neck. This can cause blood clotting, which is very dangerous.
If you feel as if you need to crack your neck constantly and don’t find any satisfaction, it’s time to consult a chiropractor. A chiropractor is trained to manipulate your joints which will alleviate the pressure that causes your discomfort. At MedAmerica, a consultation with our chiropractor is free of charge. Come in for an assessment and knock off doing your own crackin’!