When going to a chiropractor, he or she may “crack” your neck. This is a term that’s associated with any type of cervical manipulation. The popping sound occurs when a rapid motion loosens the neck joints and ligaments. Any joint has the ability to be “cracked” as most people know. It’s fairly common for a person to crack their lower back, knuckles, ankles, and even toes.

However, this doesn’t provide an understanding of why a popping noise occurs, even with gentle manipulation. These are the three reasons why you may hear this noise, even when a chiropractor is doing a gentle manipulation:

  1. Escaping Gas

All joints contain a type of fluid that helps the tissue and bones to move without friction. This fluid contains gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. In this region, there are paired joints, which are called facet joints and they are present on the sides of the neck. Each joint is covered by a capsule filled with a mixture of fluid and gases. When the capsule moves, gas may be released as bubbles which causes a cracking or popping sound.

2. Movement

A joint that is moving will also have its tendons and ligaments affected. These are the fibers that are responsible for connecting the muscles and bones, especially around a joint. The tendon may move from its natural place and then make a noise that sounds like a snap or pop when it returns. Similarly, ligaments may also tighten when a joint moves and can have a similar sound. This can occur anywhere but happens most commonly in the knee or ankle area.

3. Arthritis

Joints may be affected by arthritis which causes the cartilage in the joint to lose its smoothness. When the surface of the joint becomes rougher, it may lead to making noises when it moves. People who have arthritis, especially in their hands, may notice this, especially after a period of inactivity.

Regardless of the reason for the noise, it’s recommended that cracking your joints can be harmful over time. If you’re experiencing pain in the neck, you should not try to crack it or manipulate the joint back into shape. There are a variety of nerves and other blood vessels which run through the neck. Cracking it without being an expert can lead to damage. A chiropractor does a thorough job of first examining the area. They will find the root of the pain problem before moving forward. After determining the cause of the pain, a chiropractor will then work to restore normal movement of the neck and other areas through well-known manipulation techniques.

For anyone experiencing neck pain, it’s always best to seek out the experts. Trying to resolve this on your own may actually lead to more damage or pain in the long run. A chiropractor can aid in disorders and pain related to the back and spine area. If you’ve been struggling with this, it’s best to reach out to a chiropractor for an effective solution to this concern.