A lot of people wonder whether neck cracking is safe and why chiropractors do it. In fact, it has become among the most disputed issues along with some myths and confusions about it. Neck cracking involves the manipulation of the cervical joints where the chiropractic patient hears a popping sound or a crack. This happens when a quick motion is put on the cervical area in order to loosen the joints and ligaments on the neck.
This type of cracking though is not only limited to the neck as it can also be done in other joints such as the hips, fingers, lower back, ankles, toes, and knuckles.
Three Reasons Why a Popping Sound Occurs When Chiropractors Crack the Neck or Other Joints
- Arthritis – when a person suffers from this condition, their joints become affected and the cartilage lose its smoothness which causes the surface of the joints to become rough. When this occurs, it leads to the individual hearing that popping sound as they make a movement.
- Person’s movement – we know that when we move, our joints move with us and this also affects other components of the body such as the tendons and the ligaments. When any of these parts are moved irregularly no matter how slight, this will result to the popping sound when the affected area moves back to their original position.
- Gas getting out of the joints – our joints contain some fluids such as nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide and these serve as lubricants between the bones and the tissues. When air is collected between the joints that appear in the form of air bubbles, it creates a popping sound when some certain movements are done.
If you are feeling some discomfort or pain in the neck, it is recommended that you see your chiropractor so that they can help you find the main cause of your concern. Cracking the neck by yourself is certainly not advised because if this is not done properly, the nerves and the blood vessels in the area may be damaged.
When you visit your chiropractor, they will not only help you identify what is causing your problem, but also offer some relief to the pain through gentle manipulation or other chiropractic treatments that would be necessary for healing.
There are many types of cervical manipulation strategies that a chiropractor may perform, and neck cracking is simply one of them. The chiropractic technique that will be done depends on your condition.
Benefits of Neck Cracking
A lot of benefits may be achieved through neck cracking and this includes misaligned joints getting realigned, experiencing relief from pain or soreness, and endorphins being released. Other benefits that can be experienced when the neck is cracked are feeling light because the pressure is released from the neck area, and some people say that when they hear the cavitation of the joint, they feel an instant relief. The latter though may only be a placebo effect.
Though neck cracking provides some relief, it is still best to let your chiropractor do it for you to be sure that it is done in the right way. Too much of this may also be not good for your health which is why seeking a professional’s help is always the proper way to go.
Risks that Come with Neck Cracking
Because the cervical spine is a very important part of the body’s spine which actually supports the whole body, the cervical spine is responsible for holding the entire 13 lbs. weight of the head. With this task of balancing the head, the cervical spine needs to be stable along with the ligaments, discs in the neck, and the joints.
Through this responsibility is the reason why seeing the chiropractor to do the neck cracking for you becomes very essential. If you are not able to do this properly, further damage may occur and may also loosen the support of the ligaments. This then becomes a danger as it may result to the neck’s instability.
One of the risks that come with neck cracking is forced pinching in the nerves that may lead to painful movement or sometimes even loss of mobility because when the neck is cracked too hard, the joints’ muscles may be strained.
Neck cracking may be done when there is hypermobility in the cervical region where the joints are wider than the regular range of motion. When this is experienced, the ligaments on the neck become loose making the person feel like they need to stretch because of the numbness or soreness. This concern should be addressed immediately as looseness of the ligaments may result to osteoarthritis.
Because the primary connection points of the blood vessels are in the neck, blocking the blood’s flow to the brain may lead to stroke or blood clotting. This situation may occur when the neck is cracked too hard.
How Chiropractors Can Lessen the Risk of Neck Cracking
Getting a chiropractor to do the neck cracking is necessary as it eliminates the risks that may be suffered from it when done on your own because they are professionals that are licensed and highly trained to do things such as this one. They have a broad knowledge of the human body which makes them very capable of understanding your concerns about it.
Chiropractic care is non- invasive, non- surgical, and a natural approach to achieving an overall healthy well- being. When you have a neck pain, chiropractors may do manual manipulation to align the joints. However, before they create a treatment plan, they will first do a thorough diagnosis of your condition and check your medical history as well as the other lab exams that you may have had in the past.
Part of your treatment plan may include lifestyle change to avoid the misalignment of the joints and spine, and also change in diet to lose some weight. Some exercises that will not strain the muscles too much may also be suggested.