Some patients often visit the doctor complaining that they do not have pain in the neck but they often hear some noise of cracking sound when turning their head. Although there is no fixed reason for the neck sound while moving, yet some experts believe that it is because of the less support from the bones of shoulders to the head.
Neck cracking produces a crackling sound similar to what we hear when some people twist their fingers/knuckles to reduce stress. Others also crack their lower back, toes, and ankles. Many people do these habitually and unknowingly, and although it may be relaxing, neck cracking may also be HARMFUL.
What Causes Neck Cracking or Popping:
Cavitation: Moving the neck joints can increase pressure in the bubbles, causing popping, or bursting of these bubbles. This process, called cavitation, is heard as a cracking sound, and is the leading cause of neck cracking.
Ligament Stretching: Rapid stretching of ligaments may cause a snapping noise, especially when there is sufficient force in the opposite direction, possibly from severe muscle spasm.
Adhesion: Adhesions in the joints may also cause a clicking noise during twisting and turning the head as it impairs the movement.
Apart from these, there are also few more causes, have a look at those too,
- Bending over a desk for long periods of time or sleeping ‘badly’, either too many pillows or on an uneven surface can cause neck cracking.
- The neck and shoulder muscles ‘cramp or crack’ during periods of psychological stress.
- Muscle ache and tenderness when touching or pressing on the neck muscles.
How Safe Is Neck Cracking?
Neck Cracking, as stated, may bring relief from stress but it can also cause unwanted and potentially dangerous complications, some of which are illustrated below:
- Every cracking in the neck causes the ligaments around the joints to stretch, thus making it more unstable which can further lead to instability.
- Cracking or popping your neck regularly makes cervical arteries that pass through the back of your neck and head tear, placing you at higher risk of stroke.
- Neck cracking causes the cartilage to wear down, which leads to less mobility and/or neck arthritis in the future.
Treatment for Neck Cracking:
Since the main cause for this neck cracking is muscle spasm, physical therapy may be necessary to stretch the muscle and ease the pain. Regular neck muscle stretching exercise is recommended regularly, both in morning and evening. These exercises can help you to stretch out shortened muscles. Chiropractic adjustments may also be helpful but should only be done only with the presence of a registered chiropractor.
Neck Cracking– neck cracking is a habit of some individuals who attempt to constantly crack their neck for tension relief. However, habitual Neck Cracking can cause some unwanted and potentially serious complications. “Better safe than sorry” as this saying goes, try to avoid this neck cracking and be SAFE!
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