The thought of cracking the neck, shoulder, back, or knuckles sounds good but it’s not something everyone can do.
While some are able to, others need a little help and a bit of practice on how to crack your neck with a towel to relieve headache, pain, tension, etc. without causing an injury in the long run.
This and many more will be outlined in our post.
What is Neck Cracking?
Neck cracking involves a popping sound being created as the joints and ligaments situated in the neck begin to loosen.
It can be compared to someone cracking their lower back, knuckles, ankles, toes, amongst other regions.
Also Read: How to Stunt Your Growth?
Neck cracking is a practice carried out by people who have taught themselves to do so with ease.
On the other hand, it can be carried out by a professional known as a chiropractor.
A chiropractor is well trained to handle the cracking of the neck in individuals even those who before this time had never been able to crack their own necks.
Why Does Neck Cracking Happen?
There are a good number of reasons why neck cracking occurs and the most common cause is as a result of feeling ache, tension or pain in the region.
A person who feels either of these rubs their neck to soothe it, move it side by side, or attempts to crack it.
Still wondering, why does my neck crack so much?
Check out other reasons why neck cracking occurs:
As the joint moves, it also has an effect on the tendons and ligaments which serves as connecting fibers for the bones and muscles located in it.
When the tendons are not in their right position, it creates a sound as it moves back to its original position.
The same can be said about the ligaments which could tighten when the joint is moved and a release would create a sound as they unwound.
2. Escaping Gas:
The ability of the bones and tissue to move seamlessly can be attributed to the fluid that is contained in the joints.
The joint has a capsule that is filled with fluid and this fluid is made of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen.
On the other hand, the neck has paired joints which are called facet joints and they run up and down each side of the neck.
As a result of the capsule in these joints, a gas in a bubble-like form is released which makes the popping sound when the neck is cracked.
Another common cause of the popping sound you hear could be as a result of arthritis which makes the cartilage to lose its smoothness.
As the joint moves, the rough surface creates a sound.
Is There Any Benefit to Cracking Your Neck?
The mere thought of hearing your neck make the cracking sound can be exciting and even make one feel better.
It is often described as a “placebo effect.”
However, there can’t be an outright yes or no if there are benefits you stand to gain from cracking your neck unless you get the confirmation from a doctor or chiropractor that it is safe for you to crack your neck.
Nonetheless, let’s take a look at the general benefits of cracking your neck:
1. Pain Relief:
Generally, neck cracking is recommended as an option to relieve pain and as such, you should seek professional advice before taking the steps.
The ability for the pain to wade off can be attributed to the release of endorphins that are contained in the joints in the neck.
Their release helps you to manage the pain better compared to when it was not cracked.
A number of people have also sought ways on how to crack your neck to relieve headache which can be attributed to the potential of this neck therapy to bring some level of relief.
2. Mental Relief:
It may also be worthy to note that having your neck cracked by a professional such as a chiropractor can bring mental relief.
A number of people attested that such treatments brought relief to them since the pressure in the joint was released and the joint also adjusted accordingly.
How to Crack Your Neck
Here are the simple steps involved in how to crack your neck:
- Loosen the muscles in your neck through a neck rub or massage for some seconds. You could also do some stretches in order to loosen the neck.This is in a bid to avoid pulling your muscle if you do it without loosening up first.
- Use your left hand to cup your chin. Here, you need to form a cup using your hand and then place your chin in the hollow of your hand.
- Use your right hand to reach to the back of your head and ensure that your hand has been comfortably positioned and not painfully tightened around your head.
- Gently, but firmly push your chin to the right and rotate in a counterclockwise motion
- Pull your head to the left using the hand that is behind your head and then stretch gently until the muscles have been fully stretched (not overstretched).
This will create a couple of cracking sounds.
You can also do this the other way round with your left hand at the back of your head and your right cupping your chin.
How Risky Is It to Crack Your Neck?
Before you proceed, you need to know whether it is ok to crack your neck or it is safe for a chiropractor to crack your neck.
This is because the activity comes with a certain level of risks.
It could be as a result of doing it too often and even wrongly which could lead to problems in the long run.
1. Puncturing of the Blood Vessels:
For starters, the blood vessels contained in the neck could be punctured if the neck is cracked too hard.
The latter can result in blood clotting where excess blood flows back to the brain which is not a pretty thought once you think about it.
It could prevent oxygen from moving to the brain.
2. Pinching of the Neck’s Nerves:
Similarly, if the act is done too forcefully, it could have an effect on the neck’s nerves since they could be pinched.
If that happens, pains will be experienced thereby making it hard to move the neck from side to side.
3. Strained Muscles or Joints:
Another possible risk of cracking your neck is that the muscles or joints in the region can be strained and as such, a certain level of difficulty may be posed each time you move your neck.
Here’s what it looks like:
Always cracking your neck due to the urge to do so frequently could cause the ligaments in the joints to become stretched.
This instability in the neck region increases one’s potential for osteoarthritis.
A tear in the vertebral artery caused by neck cracking can lead to stroke.
Thus, people who are fond of cracking their neck may be more prone to stroke more than others.
What to do Instead Of Cracking Your Neck
Now that you know the possible risks that could occur as you crack your neck, there may be better alternatives you can try.
This will ensure that while your aim is to relieve the strain on your neck from sitting in from of the computer of TV too long, you do not hurt yourself in the long run.
Remember, it can lead to loss of motion, prolonged pain, and even life-threatening effects.
Thus, try the listed below instead:
- Lean your head down for thirty seconds each time and it will help to relieve the tension in your neck region
- Try simple stretches by moving the neck gently and slowly without cracking it. This can also help to eliminate the neck’s stiffness.
- Try some comfortable neck exercises and practice them often in order to strengthen your neck and feel less discomfort while carrying out your daily routine.
While how to crack your neck, back, shoulder or adjust your neck like a chiropractor is quite easy, you need to know what it entails and the possible side effects that can occur from doing it too hard and often.
Nevertheless, your doctor is in the right position to make recommendations if neck cracking is good for you or it’s something you should not attempt doing.
The good thing here is, you can resort to less risky things just as we’ve outlined in our alternatives to neck cracking section.
Now take the next step to make the joints in your neck as comfortable as possible despite the number of hours you’ll stay glued to your computer.