Cracking your joints is usually a common habit.
We usually crack our knuckles, fingers, toes, backs, and even our necks. Everyone does it for their own reasons.
Some would do it to relieve some pressure that we usually feel on our shoulders and neck, or maybe a reaction to stress.
But why do Chiropractors crack your joints and, more importantly, is it safe?
Let's go ahead and see the benefits, or maybe the risks, that you will have about cracking your neck.
It is best to learn if this habit is safe, or if it can be dangerous in the long run.
Neck Cracking - “Neck Adjustment”
This is one of the cervical adjustments that a Chiropractor can perform.
This adjustment is commonly called the “neck crack” or the “neck twist”. Sounds scary, right? If your Chiropractor suggests it and performs it, there is a good chance you'll be surprised how much better you feel afterward.
However, Chiropractors will not do this all the time. If your chiropractor does not sense any tension in the areas where the neck cracking effects, they will use a different type of adjustment to ease your pain and soreness.
Why Does it Make a Cracking or Popping Sound?
Cracking your joints is called boiling or cavitation. When you crack your neck, the capsules around the joint will stretch.
These capsules have fluid, so stretching them will allow more fluid to provide less pressure on the joint.
When the pressure decreases the fluids on these joints will turn into gas. When this happens it will make a popping noise. This process is normally not harmful, especially when done by a Chiropractor.
The neck has facet joints. These joints can be located on the sides of your neck.
When you crack your neck, the facet joint stretches and lets the fluid spread in the joint capsules. The fluid becomes gas, and your neck joints will pop.
This is why a neck crack will feel like the pressure is releasing from the neck area.
The Benefits of Cracking Your Neck
Cracking your neck can benefit you in a lot of ways.
But before doing so, you should visit your doctor or chiropractor. They would be able to give you an advise whether this procedure is safe for you or not and whether this is a recommended option for relief.
So what are these benefits? They can include:
- Relief from pain and soreness
- successful realignment of joins
- According to one study, when a Chiropractor cracks your neck it can have a positive mental effect. This is because cracking necks are associated with the release of pressure and the accompanying relief.
- In some instances, just hearing the joint cavitation can incite relief. This is more so a placebo effect. However, it still works.
- Neck cracking can release endorphins, which are the body's natural pain relief.
Sounds pretty amazing.
So what about the less than stellar facts about neck cracking?
The RISK of Neck Cracking
Like most aspects in life, there are right ways to do handle things and wrong ways.
Neck cracking is not inherently bad. It can be harmful if done improperly or too often. This is why it is a necessity to have a qualified professional perform the neck cracking.
Cracking your neck forcefully can pinch your nerves, making it impossible or painful to move. Cracking it too hard can strain the muscles around your joints.
Needing to crack your neck can be caused by hypermobility.
This happens when the joint has a larger range of motion than normal. When you give in to the urge, the ligaments on your neck can be permanently stretched. This case is called perpetual instability and may lead to osteoarthritis.
Remember, you can find a lot of blood vessels on your neck, and cracking it too hard can puncture these blood vessels which can result to blood clotting which can be dangerous since it can block the blood flow to your brain.
The Chiropractic Care: Neck Adjustment
If cracking your neck is a habit, but you don’t feel any pain or discomfort, consider potential side-effects of improper cracking, but you don't need to see a chiropractor or other medical care.
However, if frequently cracking your neck does not offer any relief, then it might be time to schedule a visit with your chiropractor to have your joint aligned.
This will help you feel relief and less of an urge to crack your neck all the time.
When to See A Chiropractor
Here are some important reasons why you need to see a doctor or a chiropractor.
- Swelling of the neck, which could be a sign of a fluid buildup, injury, or infection.
- When you feel pain in the joint area.
- When your joints start to feel pressure or pain, which gives you the urge to crack your neck.
Why Do You Need to Seek Help From Chiropractors?
A Chiropractor would be able to help make sure that your joints are aligned by manually manipulating it.
This noninvasive treatment can prevent pressure or pain in the neck area which makes you want to crack it. They would also be able to provide you with advice on how to change your lifestyle.
This may include exercise and losing weight to lessen the pressure or pain in your neck.
Chiropractors will also share tips on how you can help treat symptoms at home, too.
This may include hot or cold treatments to reduce the pain or swelling in your neck.
If you need a Chiropractor, ask your doctor for a referral to a specialist in your area.
Your health insurance should be able to cover a Chiropractor treatment, however, check with your specialist about the cost a Chiropractor may charge your specific condition in case it is not covered by your insurance.
So make sure to think twice the next time you have an urge to crack your neck yourself, but don't think twice about contacting a qualified, professional Chiropractor about helping alleviate any tension and pain you may have.