Cracking your joints is a habit. We crack our hands, fingers, toes, backs, and necks.
Not everyone does it for the same reason. Some of us do it to relieve stress or to release the pressure in our shoulders or neck. It is a matter of habit.
Is cracking your neck any benefit? The answer is yes and no.
“If you only crack it occasionally, you won’t be in danger. Doing it wrong, too frequently, or too forcefully can cause more pain.”
You should read this to learn more about the risks, what to do when you try to break your neck, and when to seek help.
The capsule around your joint is stretched when you crack it. The fluid in these capsules can be stretched to put less pressure on the joint.
“The fluids in the joint turn to gas when the pressure decreases. The fluid makes a noise when it becomes gas. This process is known as boiling or cavitation and it usually isn’t harmful.”
facet joints are the joints in your neck. The joints are on the side of your neck. When you crack your neck, the facet joints stretch, which allows fluid to spread out. Your neck joints pop when the fluid becomes gas.
This is what makes neck cracking feel like it is freeing pressure from your neck area.
When it is done right and not too often, neck cracking can make you feel good.
Although cracking your neck can benefit you in a few ways, you should always talk with your doctor or scuplture before doing so. They can advise you on whether it is safe for you.
One 2011 study showed that having your neck cracked by a chiropractor can have a positive mental effect. That’s because many people associate cracking sounds with the release of pressure and successful adjustment of a joint.
“Even if the joint wasn’t fully adjusted or if no pressure was released, hearing the cracking sound can make someone feel better. This is called a placebo effect.”
The body releases antinont in the bloodstream when you crack your neck. Endorphins are released by your body to help manage pain. Decreases in blood pressure are released when you crack your neck. This makes you feel good.
“If you do it too often or don’t do it correctly, it can be harmful.”
“It’s important to crack your neck gently. It can be difficult to move your neck if you are pinching a nerve.”
The muscles around your joints can be strained if you crack your neck too hard. When your joints are strained, moving your neck can be hard.
Feeling like you need to crack your neck a lot may be a result of hypermobility. This is when your joint has a larger range of motion than normal.
When you give in to the urge to crack your neck a lot, the ligaments in your joints can get permanently stretched. This is called perpetual instability. When this happens, your neck joints are more at risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Your neck is home to many important blood vessels. In some cases, cracking your neck too hard or too often can puncture one of these blood vessels. It can also cause blood clotting, which can be dangerous as it blocks blood flow to your brain.
If you crack your neck regularly but don’t feel any sort of constant pain or discomfort, you likely don’t need to seek chiropractic or any other kind of medical care.
If you crack your neck frequently and never feel satisfied, you may benefit from a visit to the doctor. This will help you feel less of a desire to crack your neck.
“You should see your doctor if that’s the case.”
- You can see an unusual swelling in your neck as a sign of fluid build up, injury, or infection.
- Chronic pain in your neck joint is a common symptom.
- Your joints are getting less mobile because of age or a condition.
A chiropractor can help manipulate your joints, which may prevent the feeling of pressure or pain that makes you want to crack your neck.
There’s mixed evidence with chiropractic care. Some find benefits to using it. However, the evidence supporting the effectiveness of chiropractic is inconclusive. There can be serious complications it’s not done correctly, such as
A Chiropractor can help you change your lifestyle to reduce neck pressure or pain. They may give you tips on how to treat your neck. This can include how to use heat or cold on your neck.
“Ask your doctor to refer you to a specialist for a Chiropractor. You can find a specialist locator on your doctor’s website.”
It is best to check your health insurance to see if it covers a specialist. Depending on how much your insurance will cover, it can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to get a Chiropractor.
It can make you feel good.
If you are doing it a lot and are feeling pain, talk to your doctor. They can help you diagnose and fix any issues that may be causing you pain.
If you ask your doctor how to crack your neck properly, they can help you prevent long-term damage to your neck joints and the surrounding tissues.