Is Cracking Your Own Neck Dangerous?

Is Cracking Your Own Neck Dangerous?

When your neck is stiff, there is only one thing you want: relief.

Neck stiffness isn’t unusual, and it can occur from merely spending too long bent over your desk, sleeping awkwardly or lifting something that is too heavy. Many crave the feeling of relief that comes from a quick crack of the neck (although some research has shown that this may be a psychological placebo effect).

But is Cracking Your Neck Any Good for You?

Well, it depends. If you can crack your neck by merely turning your head, you likely aren’t causing yourself damage to do it occasionally. However, if you are forcing your neck to pop or crack suddenly, you probably aren’t doing yourself a lot of good.

Cracking your neck yourself may not be the best option if you are feeling more than just “a bit stiff,” or if you are experiencing neck stiffness and pain over several days, and if this is the case you will benefit from seeing a chiropractor.

Leave It To The Professionals

A friend might offer to give you a hand with your stiff neck, but they could easily end up applying too much pressure and causing more damage than good. Only get your back or neck adjusted from a licensed chiropractor or physical therapist.

So, What Happens When You Crack Your Neck?

There are a few explanations for why your neck makes a popping sound. The first is called cavitation. Our joints contain gases (nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and oxygen) and fluid to cushion and lubricate the joints. The sound is produced by pressure on the fluid that creates gas bubbles that pop. Cavitation can increase flexibility and ease discomfort, and chiropractors are trained in how to do this most effectively to relieve pain.

Another reason for the cracking noise you hear can be the result of ligaments and tendons moving over the joints or one another. Ligaments connect bone to bone, and tendons connect muscle to bone. Sometimes, if the ligaments, muscles or tendons supporting your neck are too tight or too loose, they will make this cracking noise when you force the tendons, muscles or ligaments to rub against your bones.

Popping your joints (neck or otherwise) releases endorphins that help relieve your pain temporarily. This release can be addictive, hence why people will often say, “but I needed to!” if you ask them to stop cracking a specific body part.

This popping or cracking noise does not necessarily indicate there has been any positive readjustment.

When is Neck Cracking Bad for You?

Cracking or popping your neck should never hurt, and you should never have to force it. If either of these things is true, then neck cracking is likely doing you harm. Your neck should not be extremely stiff or at all swollen, and if this is the case, you almost certainly have a neck injury that requires medical attention.

Be aware that constant or forcibly cracking your neck can be bad for you. There is an abundance of blood vessels in your neck that can be damaged by continuous cracking. These vessels carry blood to, and away from your brain, so forceful and constant neck cracking can increase your risk of stroke by damaging these vessels.

Another danger of forceful cracking is overextending your ligaments and tendons, which can weaken their ability to support your head throughout your life.

Can Neck Cracking Cause Arthritis?

Many people don’t like to hear someone else’s joints popping, and most of us have heard someone tell us that cracking your joints will cause arthritis. But does it? There is no research showing direct links between arthritis and cracking joints.

Stiff Neck? Neck Cracking Alternatives

Hold a stretch for at least 20 seconds, release, and repeat until you feel better.

How Do You Know if You Need to See a Professional?

If you are continuously experiencing a stiff neck or neck pain, it’s essential to see a professional who can ensure you don’t have an underlying problem that needs to be corrected. If you need an expert to help with your current or chronic neck stiffness or pain contact CK Chiropractic Center to book an appointment today!

What Our Patients Say

  • Michael L. Avatar

    5 star rating Came here for an initial visit after a car accident and so far so good. The place is clean and organized, which made it inviting. The staff was friendly and the doctor was nice. After a few x-rays, he noticed something was off and is evaluating further. This is my second time getting an X-ray and no other doctor has told me I had a slight abnormality so I'm thankful for that. I have a few more appointments lined up so let's see how long that can keep up their good service!

    Michael L.
  • William Foody Avatar

    Dr. Ta is a great chiropractor. He's right by my job so I can go after work. I would recommend him anyone

    William Foody
  • Daphne Vann Avatar

    Thank you to one if the best doctor I've had and trust; I've had plenty.

    Daphne Vann
  • Michelle P. Avatar

    5 star rating When I initially started treatment with Dr. Kien Ta, I didn't beleive I'd ever get out of pain. At first, due to the extreme pain I endured from my accident, the treatment was a little uncomfortable. Thank GOD for Dr. Ta and his team of assistants for making the experience much more tolerable.

    Thank you so much,

    Michelle P.
  • Ket Sivilay Avatar

    CK Chiropractic came highly recommended by a colleague. I had an excellent experience here for treatment after a bad car accident in Lake Tahoe while on vacation. Dr. Ta and his staff are super friendly, knowledgeable and make you feel comfortable immediately. Would recommend coming here for regular treatment or post-accident chiropractic care. Conveniently located right off the 15 with a small parking lot.

    Ket Sivilay
  • ilan martinez Avatar

    Great staff. Very fast service and you are very well taken care of from they start. I will return.

    ilan martinez
  • San Diego Injury Law Center Avatar

    Great chiropractors! They have a very knowledgeable and helpful staff. Highly recommended. 5 stars!

    San Diego Injury Law Center
  • Kim Linh Avatar

    This place is great. Staff here are very professional and patient. The doctor is very knowledgeable and experience. Would definitely recommend and come back.

    Kim Linh

Request Your Appointment Today

Mira Mesa Office

(858) 586-7799

9888 Carroll Centre Rd #106, San Diego, CA 92126

Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri: 9:00AM – 6:00PM
Wednesday: By Appointment
Saturday: 9:00AM – 1:00PM
Sunday: Closed



Normal Heights Office

(619) 283-6615

3902 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92105

Mon - Fri: 9:00AM – 6:00PM
Saturday: By Appt Only 9:00AM 1:00PM
Sunday: Closed

Send us an Email

Font Resize
Contrast
El Centre Blvd Carroll Centre Rd Text