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The Scary Truth about Cracking Your Own Neck

By Krista Elliott

A few days ago, I woke up with what I call a "kink" in my neck. My neck was a bit stiff and sore, and when I looked to my left, I could feel a jolt of pain zapping down my neck into my left arm. It bothered me all day, so I decided that some chiropractic care would likely be in order. That evening, however, I had my weekly fiddle lesson. And as I turned my head to the left to put my chin on the chinrest ... CRUNCH. My neck cracked in about three spots, sending a flare of warmth up the side of my face and a tingle down my arm. It was loud enough that the woman next to me looked at me with alarm, saying, "Was that your NECK that just made that noise?!?"

Fortunately, I suffered no ill effects, and after being adjusted, am now right as rain. However, for people who crack their necks on purpose, the odds of escaping unscathed are much, much lower. 

But My Neck Cracks By Itself!

We all experience our joints cracking sometimes. If we're sitting too long and stand up and stretch, it's not unusual for built-up pressure in the spine to release a bit, causing that familiar popping. Unforced cracking that occurs from natural and gentle movements isn't harmful. So if your neck is a bit stiff, you gently tilt your head from side to side, and your neck cracks? You can rest easy knowing that you haven't done any damage. 

Forced Cracking: The Danger Zone

Where the damage comes in is when you make your neck crack, by pulling or twisting on your head with your hands. The reason? You might have a disc that's subluxated, but your motions are actually pulling it in the wrong direction, or are even yanking on other vertebrae instead of the one that actually needs work. 

And the more you force any joint beyond its natural range of motion, the more you stretch the attached ligaments. And when ligaments get stretched repeatedly, they start to stay that way. This can lead to joint instability and a constant battle with misalignments. 

The only thing worse than cracking your own neck? Getting someone to do it for you. Seriously. Don't do this. Doing your own is bad enough, but at least you're not likely to force yourself past the point of discomfort. But when an untrained person does it? They can easily go way too far, putting you at serious risk of major neck injury and even worse. 

Leave it to the Experts

Like welding and dentistry, some things are just better left to people who really know what they're doing. And at The Joint Chiropractic, our doctors of chiropractic are skilled at using precise and gentle adjustments on your neck (or any other joint) to get it into the best alignment possible. Safe and drug-free, chiropractic care from The Joint can make that neck kink a thing of the past, helping you feel great. 

So play it safe and stop by The Joint. You don't even need an appointment, so we're able to help out with any twinges or aches that arise, helping you feel better, quickly and safely. 


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