Updated: May 24, 2019
By Dr. Ryan Lee
We have all been there, you’re at work and suddenly you feel a catch in your neck, and you want to physically wrench it from one side of your body to the other to crack it and get some relief.
If you’re flexible you may also be able to crack other parts of your spine like your hips and low back. The popping and cracking sensation may feel therapeutic but is it safe for your spine?
First, we should investigate why you feel the need to crack your own neck and back in the first place!
Why do we get that feeling that we want to crack our neck in the first place?
There are two general causes of this feeling:
1) When doing Yoga or stretching we may move our neck or stretch out our backs in order to release tight muscles. This can cause that popping sensation to occur, however, it is usually nothing to worry about unless there is pain and swelling at the site of the popping sensation.
2) When you feel like you constantly have a catch in your neck and you physically need to twist your neck to relieve it, there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. The underlying issue causing this could be osteoarthritis, muscle spasms, facet syndrome or more commonly, subluxations of your spine. All of these conditions can decrease mobility and cause even more pain, leading to further health issues. The root cause of the popping isn't our only concern, we can also put ourselves at risk for getting hyper-mobile ligaments, pulled muscles, and subluxations of the spine from constantly wrenching our neck.
What does it mean to have subluxation of the spine?
Subluxations are obstructions in the nervous system's path that prevent the brain and nervous system from functioning as they should. They can also cause local pain in your neck, low back, and even your extremities.
While popping your neck feels good for the moment, it is only providing a temporary relief for a chronic problem that needs to be addressed by a healthcare professional.
Is there anything I can do to fix the cause of the catch in my neck myself?
1) Exercise can decrease the need, but doesn't solve the root cause - Regular exercises, especially resistance exercises, strengthen joints and prevent future injuries from occurring, and can decrease the need to pop and crack your neck. So always keep moving! Remember to take breaks from sitting for long periods of time and incorporate exercise in your daily lifestyle.
2) Stretches and Yoga is a gentle release but may not correct the cause- you can perform light stretches and yoga to gently release your back without the potentially harmful side effects of cracking and popping your neck.
The most effective way to determine what is causing your underlying issue and potentially resolve it is to visit a Chiropractor.
A chiropractor is trained to zero in on what is going on in your body and stabilize and strengthen the exact area that is giving you problems. For example, if you have a weak core or tight hamstrings it can cause low back pain. A chiropractor can help you identify and treat this exact problem. Chiropractors are also trained to identify subluxations and correct them in order to fix the underlying cause of the issue.
Ready to Schedule? Click Here to schedule your first visit and fix that crick in your neck for good!
Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic is located in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area specifically in Collegedale, TN, a short distance from Ooltewah, Cleveland, East Brainerd, East Ridge, Ringgold, Apison, and Harrison.
Dr. Ryan Lee is the practicing chiropractic physician at Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic. For his full bio, click here.
*This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Ryan Lee and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Dr. Lee does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.