Is Cracking Your Neck Dangerous?

Posted on January 15th, 2020 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

Is Neck Cracking Safe or Dangerous?

Cracking our joints is normal — from our neck down to our toes. If you’ve ever turned your neck out of tightness,  stress, or pain and heard a cracking noise, you may have felt there was cause for concern. Cracking your neck occasionally is not harmful, but forcefully cracking your neck can cause larger potential risks.

Why Does My Neck Crack?

When you crack any joint in your body, the capsules around the joint stretch. The capsules that surround your neck contain fluid, and when the joint is stretched, less fluid is pressed onto the joint. Your neck has several sets of facet joints, which are located on each side of your neck.

Known as ‘boiling’ or ‘cavitation,’ these fluids then turn to gas and makes a popping or cracking noise. Simply put, you’re releasing the tension and pressure in your neck, sometimes resulting in a loud sound.

Is There a Benefit to Cracking My Neck?

You may feel better after cracking your neck, but you should speak to your orthopedic or chiropractor before doing so in order to be sure that it’s safe for you to do. Some studies suggest that cracking your neck can release the pressure in the joint and adjust it back to proper alignment. Some people just feel better hearing the noise — which is known as the placebo effect.

Can Cracking My Neck Be Dangerous?

While cracking your neck may seem satisfying, it can also be potentially dangerous if done incorrectly. Cracking your neck too forcefully can put you at risk of pinching the delicate nerves in your neck. A pinched nerve can not only be extremely painful, but it can also limit the mobility of your neck. 

In addition, giving in to the urge to crack your neck can also cause the ligaments in your joints to become permanently stretched — known as perpetual instability. Your neck joints can, therefore, be put at risk for developing conditions such as osteoarthritis. 

Chiropractic Care in CT

At Orthopaedic Specialty Group, our chiropractors are expertly trained to assist any of your neck and back pain, as well as diagnose and treat non-spinal musculoskeletal injuries. If you would like to schedule an appointment at one of our 7 locations in Southern Connecticut please give us a call (203) 337-2600 (option 3).