Many of us like to crack our joints and neck cracking is also one of them. Where some of us may be doing this to feel relaxed others may be doing it out of sheer habit. Whatever be the reason, it is vital to know whether a brief euphoria that you experience by cracking your neck is worth it or are there any associated risks that you should be aware of. Keep reading this post and learn more about neck cracking and whether or not this practice is safe for you?
What is Neck Cracking and What Makes that Cracking Sound?
The popping or neck is cracking sound results when you make quick motions in your neck that loosens the ligaments and joint of your neck. The neck cracking is similar to the cracking of fingers, toes, knuckles or other parts of the body. Here are some reasons that make the cracking sound in the neck:
1. Because of The Movement
When the fibres attached to the muscles and bones, known as the ligaments and tendons, slightly move from their place and then come back to their original position, it results in a snapping sound. The sound also occurs when the joints movement causes tightness in the ligaments.
2. Because of Arthritis
When this bone ailment occurs, it affects the smooth functioning of the joints. The seamless mobility of the cartilage gets compromised, and the joint surface also becomes rougher, leading to cracking sound.
3. Because Of Gas Escaping from the Joints
There is a fluid present in our joints and bones that assists their smooth movement. This fluid consists of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Our neck consists of facet joints that include capsules around them. These capsules are filled with gas and any movement in these paired joints results in escaping of gas bubbles, which causes the cracking sound.
Are There Any Benefits of Cracking Neck?
Well, the most common benefit that one drives from neck cracking is for relieving pain. Here are some other neck an excellent benefits:
- It helps in reducing lower back pain
- It helps in dealing with a migraine
- It helps in lowering the neck pain
If you opt for neck snapping to get relief from any of the ailments mentioned above, it is suggested you get assistance from a professional chiropractor.
Is It Risky to Crack Your Neck?
Many chiropractors use cervical spine manipulation or what we commonly refer to as neck cracking technique, to provide relief from various kinds of pain. However, there are some associated risks associated with neck cracking that you should be aware of:
1. It May Result in Blood Clotting
Sometimes neck cracking may lead to rupturing of blood vessels in the neck. This may cause blood clots in the neck. This condition can become fatal as it may hamper oxygen supply to the brain.
2. It May Cause A Stoke
Wondering how the neck is cracking and stroke are connected, well, there is a connection. This may happen when the artery that carries blood to the brain gets ruptured. This rupturing may cause a stroke. The people who are more than 60 years of age are more prone to it.
3. It May Cause Lack of Mobility
Whenever you crack your neck, there is a risk of damage to the connective tissue in your spine. With regular practising of neck cracking there may be reduced mobility in the joints, and thus it may lead to conditions such as arthritis.
4. It May Cause Osteoarthritis
Whenever neck cracking is practised it increases the pressure in the neck joints. When this is done for a more extended period or on a regular basis, it may lead to instability in the neck muscles and joints. This leads to weakening of your bones and muscles and resulting in osteoarthritis.
These are some ailments that may get triggered because of the practice of neck cracking.
When to Seek for Chiropractic Care?
People who practise neck cracking on a regular basis and feel no pain or discomfort may not be required to visit their chiropractor for any neck cracking treatment. However, if you experience pain or uneasiness in doing the same, then you must consider neck is cracking by a chiropractor. A professional and trained chiropractor will help in aligning your joints and may help you providing relief from your pain. Here are some conditions that may indicate you to seek chiropractic care:
- If chronic pain in the neck is experienced, that does not seem to subside or go away with time
- If any kind of swelling is present on the neck that may result due to injury, infection or fluid build-up
- If you experience a problem in moving your neck joints, which may be because of old age or health conditions such as osteoarthritis
5 Safe Ways To Crack Your Neck
Age is one of the most critical factors in determining the risks associated with neck cracking. This means, if you are young or your muscles and joints are in great shape, it is less likely for you to sustain any injury or harm by doing neck cracking exercise. However, to be sure that you do it correctly and without harming yourself, we shall be discussing some effective and safer ways to crack your neck:
1. The Head Tilting Method
Stand straight or sit upright and keep your neck straight. Now, without slouching, tilt your head to one side and stay there for a few seconds. Come back to the centre and go on the other side. If you don’t hear your neck crack in the first go, you can repeat tilting your head on the opposites sides for a few times. If your neck still does not crack, you can try pushing down on the opposite side to where your head is leaning on.
2. The Foam Roller Technique
This technique requires a foam roller. Lie down on the ground with your back firmly touching the floor and your arms resting on the sides. Place the foam roller under your neck. Now gently raise your back and glutes off the ground and start rolling your neck on the foam. Move back and forth with the roller under your neck. To give additional support to your neck, you may place your hands under your head while moving on the roller. You may transfer this roller down to your lower back too. Stay relaxed and keep rolling your neck on the foam until you hear a popping sound in your neck.
3. The Head Lift
Stand upright and tuck your back in, however, refrain from tucking it too hard. By rolling your head, slowly rotate your head towards the right if you feel the pain on your left side or turn towards left side if you experience pain in your right side. Keep rotating your head in circular motions but do not forget to target the areas that hurt the most. You will hear a crackling sound as you do so. Anytime while doing this exercise if you experience any pain or discomfort, you should stop immediately.
4. The Fist And Cup Method
Sit or stand in an upright position. Keep your neck straight. Make a fist using your left hand and place it on the left side of your chin. Now, gently exert pressure from your fist to the right side. Do the same with your left hand. Alternatively, you can use your hand to cup your face on one side and then by exerting the pressure on the opposite side. Refrain from putting too much pressure. You may hear a cracking sound as do these steps.
5. The Cup And Reach Way
This is one of the widely used methods of neck cracking. However, make sure when you crack your neck utilizing this technique, your neck muscles are stretched and loosened up. Make a cup from the palm of your hand and place in on one side of the face so that the chin is placed in the hollow and your fingers are on your cheeks. Now take the other hand from the back of your neck and grab your head firmly with it. Now move both your hands, exerting pressure from both ends. Ensure that allow firm but gentle pressure from both your hands. Keep doing this until you hear a cracking sound. The same can be done to release the pressure from the other side.
Any of the methods mentioned above are a great way of relieving pain and pressure from your neck. However, it is advised to exercise complete discretion in doing so and make sure you do not go overboard while doing these exercises.
Neck cracking is a great way of releasing pressure from the joints and also in making you feel good. However, you must make sure that you follow the correct way of doing it and also ensure that you do not follow this practice on a regular basis. Learn the right way of doing this technique from your doctor or chiropractor to avoid any unnecessary risks.