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Cracking Your Knuckles: No Big Deal?

By Sara Butler

A lot of people crack their knuckles. Sit on the subway, in the office, or in a waiting room for any amount of time and the evidence is all around you with those snaps, crackles, and pops. It makes you wonder: Is cracking your knuckles bad for you or not? Does cracking your knuckles do damage to your joints? The chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic want to share with you what there is to know about knuckle cracking and joint popping in general, and how if you're a knuckle cracker, you can stop.

Why Joints Crack

If you've seen the chiropractors at The Joint for an adjustment, you may have heard a crack or two as you were being adjusted. Joint can pop and crack, it's perfectly normal. Your joints are full of fluid that helps to lubricate the joint and help it work. This fluid has tiny air bubbles in it and those tiny bubbles can be released when the joint is bent and the pressure suddenly changed. Hence the popping sound you hear when a joint is popped.

Is It Safe?

The big question here is how safe it is to crack your knuckles -- or any other joints. There's no scientific evidence that supports damage to joints such as the knuckles when they're cracked. There's no support for the idea that popping your joints can lead to arthritis. But there are some studies that suggest people who are regular knuckle crackers have reduced grip strength as well as some chronic swelling in the hands. The study correlated cracking knuckles with hand issues, but correlation doesn't equal causation -- so the scientific jury is still out on that one. More studies need to be done!

What is known is that chiropractors go to school for years to learn how to adjust a body properly and even then, you won't catch a chiropractor adjusting themselves or popping their joints habitually. The best advice: Find a way to break this bad habit before you hurt yourself or make matters worse!

How to Stop

If you're a habitual knuckle cracker, then it's probably a form of stress relief for you and that's why it's become a habit. Habits can be difficult to break but not impossible. If you want to stop, then you first need to identify why you crack your joints in the first place.  If it's anxiety or stress, then think about ways to stop yourself from the habit and take care of stress another way.

Stretching is another great way to stop the pop. If you like the feeling of relief you get from popping your knuckles, then you may be able to find just as much relief from stretching your hands and forearms.

Leave the joint popping to the professionals at The Joint and find other ways to help relieve stress! If you need more help breaking the habit of popping your joints, then talk to the chiropractor today.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Marietta, Ga.

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