If you constantly find yourself cracking your joints, you’re not alone. Many of us have made it a habit to crack our fingers, toes, lower back, and even our necks. One of the questions that a chiropractor New York NY commonly encounters is about the safety of neck cracking.
But is neck cracking really bad? Read on to learn more about this topic.
Why Neck Cracks
Many people crack their necks out of habit. If you ask a chiropractor New York City, they will share how some of their patients do it to relieve tension and stress.
There are three main reasons why necks can crack. First are joint movements that affect the ligaments and tendons. If a ligament tightens, it can cause a crackling noise. Meanwhile, if a tendon gets out of its original position, it can produce a popping or snapping sound once it returns to its proper place.
Another is when the fluid contained in the joints escapes. This happens when the capsule of the joint gets stretched, giving the internal fluid space where it can be released in bubble form. The sound comes from the release of the fluid.
Neck cracking can also be caused by a more serious underlying concern, including arthritis. Arthritis causes the bone to weaken and become brittle. Once it affects neck joints, the cartilage can lose its smoothness and produce noise whenever the joint moves.
Pros and Cons
There are both benefits and harm in cracking necks. Ask any chiropractor New York NY and you’d know that gently cracking your neck or cracking it occasionally can indeed help alleviate pain. Especially if your work entails having to be in a position that can stiffen your neck, cracking can provide the relief you need.
If it’s stiffness that you’re addressing, it’s better not to crack your neck yourself. A specialist can perform chiropractic adjustments, which are a more reliable, effective, and safer solution.
According to research, neck cracking done professionally can also positively impact one’s mental wellbeing. The cracking sounds produced by the adjustment help provide a sense of satisfaction, that can reduce stress levels.
Take note that if you frequently and forcefully crack your neck on your own, it can do you more harm than good. It can bring forth pain that is more severe than what you’re trying to alleviate. It can pinch the nerve and make it more difficult for you to move your neck. It can also strain your muscles and joints in the neck area, further limiting your range of motion.
Also, keep in mind that there are many vital blood vessels found in the neck. If you crack your neck the wrong way, your blood vessels can be punctured. When that happens, you can experience blood clotting and — worse — make it hard for your blood to reach your brain.
When You Should See A Chiropractor New York City
If you notice unusual swelling in your neck area after cracking it, you should immediately seek professional help. This swelling can be indicative of an injury, fluid buildup, or injection.
You should also book a chiropractic clinic once you feel like your neck has become less mobile or when you feel sharp and chronic pain in the area.
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