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Neck Cracking: Safe or Stop?

Ever cracked your neck and felt immediate relief? If this is a regular part of your routine, it may be time to see a doctor. Going through life with chronic neck pain is no way to live. What's more, taking a do-it-yourself approach to adjusting your neck and spine could have dangerous repercussions. This is especially true if you have an underlying condition you don't know about.

If you're battling a stiff, sore neck—and cracking it yourself seems to be the only way to make it better—we invite you to listen up. Neck cracking isn't always as safe as you might think. Here's what you need to know.

Joint pressure is typically what makes us feel the urge to crack our necks. This pressure is caused by fluid buildup in the capsules surrounding your neck joints. Neck cracking triggers these capsules to stretch, thus relieving the uncomfortable pressure. When that liquid has turned to gas, we usually hear a cracking or popping sound.

When to Stop Neck Cracking

If you feel better after cracking your neck (i.e. it brings about a sense of relief), you might want to consult a chiropractic specialist. Chiropractors know how to safely manipulate the spine and neck to improve chronic pain and discomfort. Cracking your neck yourself, or having someone who isn't trained do it for you, is a risky move.

In extreme cases, you could cause a new neck injury, exacerbate an existing injury, or lay the ground work for future osteoarthritis of the neck. What's worse, there's research suggesting that cracking your own neck, instead of going to a professional, could even cause a stroke. It goes without saying that forcing your neck to crack is especially dangerous as this could wreak havoc on the vertebrae. Twisting your neck by forcibly turning your chin could led to serious injury.

When is Neck Cracking Safe?

Generally speaking, gentle neck cracking that happens on its own is probably fine if it occurs occasionally, but you still shouldn't do it yourself. The only way to really ensure safety is if it's done in a chiropractic setting. To clarify, chiropractors don't actually "crack your neck." On the contrary, they readjust your spine in a way that's more natural and comfortable in relation to the rest of your anatomy, which relieves discomfort and pressure.

When a chiropractor tends to your neck as part of an overall treatment plan, "neck cracking" can be extraordinarily healing. Proper chiropractic care can eliminate pain, relieve pressure and correct painful structural alignment issues.

Ready to kick your neck cracking habit once and for all? The chiropractic team at Envista Medical Neck & Back Center are trained and ready to make it a reality.