Is it safe to crack your neck?

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Posted on 29 July 2022

Do you regularly crack your neck? If so, you’re not alone. Cracking your joints is a fairly common habit, with many people cracking not just their necks but their knuckles, backs and fingers too. If you’re wondering “Is it safe to crack your neck?”, read on. We’ve taken a closer look at the implications of neck cracking. 

What is neck cracking?Neck Pain Chiropractor in Doncaster

Neck cracking refers to the act of tilting or rotating your head so that it creates an audible cracking or popping sound. This noise happens due to the capsules around your joints becoming stretched. These capsules contain fluid and stretching them causes this fluid to put less pressure on the joints. This decrease in pressure leads to the fluid in the joints turning to gas, which is what is responsible for the popping noise you hear when you crack your neck. This process is referred to as boiling or cavitation. 

In the neck, there are several joints known as facet joints on the sides of your neck. Cracking your neck causes the facet joints to stretch, allowing the fluid to disperse within the joint capsule. When the fluid becomes a gas, the joints in your neck pop.

Why do people do it?

Not everyone cracks their necks for the same reason. Some people crack their necks to release the feeling of pressure in their neck or shoulders. This is sometimes simply a habit, however, it’s often a result of stress build-up. Poor posture, muscle tension and injuries can also be common causes of pressure and pain in the neck. Studies show that the cracking sounds can have a positive mental effect on many people, even if no pressure was released. This is because people simply associate the cracking sound with the release of pressure. 

Cracking your neck can also release endorphins around the neck joints. Endorphins are released by the body to help you manage pain. When you crack your neck, this provides a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction. Whilst cracking your neck may feel nice due to the release of pressure in your joints and the release of endorphins, there are risks to consider. Keep reading to find out is it safe to crack your neck.

Thorne Road Chiropractic ClinicIs neck cracking safe?

Gently cracking your neck from time to time is usually safe. However, doing it too frequently, forcefully or incorrectly can be harmful and can cause more pain and discomfort than you experienced before the neck crack. It could cause the nerves in your neck to become pinched, which can be very painful indeed. Pinched nerves can even make it impossible to move your neck in some cases. Forceful neck cracking can also cause the muscles around the joints as well as the joints themselves to become strained, making moving your neck feel arduous. 

Cracking your neck frequently can be a symptom of hypermobility – a condition which involves having an abnormally great range of movement in your joints. It can create the urge to crack your neck a lot, leading to the ligaments in your joints becoming stretched permanently. Perpetual instability results, making it more likely that osteoarthritis will develop in the neck joints. This can cause chronic pain and stiffness in the neck.

Since your neck contains several important blood vessels, you need to be very careful when cracking your neck. Doing so too forcefully or frequently can cause one of them to become punctured. Blood clotting, although rare, is also possible. This can block the blood flow to the brain, which can cause a stroke and in some cases be fatal. Many people worry that neck adjustments can cause strokes. However, evidence shows that strokes due to neck adjustments have overwhelming occurred in non-chiropractor clinics.

Should I visit a chiropractor? 

If you find yourself cracking your neck often due to constant pain or discomfort, it may be time to consult with a chiropractor. You might need to get your joints realigned to ease the pain you’re experiencing. Other reasons to see a chiropractor include:

  • Unusual swelling in your neck. This can indicate fluid build-up, an injury, or that infection is present.
  • Pain in your neck joint. This is especially important if the pain is chronic and doesn’t seem to have a clear cause. 
  • Issues with joint mobility. This may be due to old age or a condition such as osteoarthritis.

Chiropractic treatment for neck pain in Doncaster 

If you’re suffering from neck pain, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced chiropractor who will be able to assess your neck and identify the underlying cause of your discomfort. For chiropractic treatment for neck pain in Doncaster, contact Thorne Road Chiropractic Clinic. We can help to treat neck pain using a variety of effective chiropractic techniques.  

A chiropractor can manipulate your joints, making sure they’re aligned. This can ease the feeling of pressure or pain, helping to reduce the need to want to crack your neck often. 

As well as manipulating your joints, we can also provide valuable advice on how to adapt your lifestyle to reduce your symptoms. We might suggest exercising more or taking steps to lose weight. We may also offer tips on how you can treat your neck pain yourself at home. This could include using heat or cold to reduce swelling or pain.

Contact us 

Now you know the answer to “Is it safe to crack your neck?”, you may be interested in seeing a chiropractor. For chiropractic treatment for neck pain in Doncaster, look no further than Thorne Road Chiropractic. Call us on 01302 969 501 to speak to one of our specialists. Book a consultation so that one of our experienced chiropractors to get to the root of your neck pain.  


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