We are living in area that sedentary lifestyle is more and more common nowadays. We spend a lot of time in front of the computer, stare at the screen or focus on surfing facebook. Staying your neck for a long period of time cause tiredness on your neck or even neck pain. Some people have neck cracking like a habit or even feel fun to create neck cracking sound. Is it bad to cracking your neck? Then, how to crack your neck safely? Just look a whole picture about neck yourself to consider that should you stop cracking your neck or keep this habit?
You also have answers for tons of questions such as why does my neck crack? Where does your neck pain come from and what should you do for neck pain treatment? Can you snap your own neck, or figure out how to adjust your own neck like chiropractor .
Stay in turn with us, we hope it will be helpful for you.
What happens when you crack your neck?
When you crack any joint in your body, you are stretching the capsules around your joints. The capsules contain fluid and dissolved gases to do joint’s function. When your capsules are stretched, it makes fluid release pressure on the joints and help circulation in your joints get better as well.
At the same time, the gases come out of the solution, allowing the capsules stretch a little further, hence you hear a popping sound. This is a natural process, known as boiling or cavitation, and normally, it is harmless. You cannot crack you joints again until the gases have dissolved back into the fluid .
How benefit is it when you neck yourself
In spite of the fact that cracking your neck brings you some benefit, you have to concern about how to crack your neck safely in a good position and technique. Your doctor or chiropractor will help you figure out the best for your condition, so if there is something abnormal or make you uncomfortable when your crack your neck, tell your doctor.
A qualitative study on chiropractic patients’ personal perception of the audible release and cavitation that was published in March, 2011 on Science Direct has resulted cracking neck associates with a good mental effect . Patients assume popping sound is an evidence for well-achieved adjustment in joints.
In some cases, endorphins will be released in the local of neck joints when you crack your neck. Endorphin is an endogenous relieving pain which is generated by central nervous system or your pituitary gland. This is the reason why cracking your neck make you feel satisfy and relaxed.
Is cracking your neck bad
There are many parts of our body that contained in the neck area, let’s take a look:
- Blood vessels
- Spinal cord
Because those essential body parts involved in neck area, if any forceful movement of your neck beyond its normal limits can cause a severe damage even it cannot get back, especially Spinal cord injury. Therefore, be careful with any neck manipulation. Keep asking your doctor or chiropractor to design your own neck exercise if you want.
Every time your neck is stretching, your ligaments also stretch like a rubber band. A rubber band is overused or stretched many times, as a result, it is easy to lose their shape and become unstable or even snap .
The ligaments work as the same way. If you crack your neck too often, or in wrong technique, it will affect your joints’ structure and stability. This can lead to many problems such as blood clotting, high risk of osteoarthritis, pinched nerves, misaligned vertebra, stiffness and pain.
Cracking your neck forcefully and very suddenly can cause rupture in the vessels. This condition is too dangerous since it can generate blood clotting that interrupts the blood stream to the brain. You may feel headache, dizzy or nauseous even lose your vision. It is the reason why doctors say neck clicking raises risk of stroke.
When you crack your neck too hard or too often, your joints have a larger range of motion than normal. Consequently, your feeling like you need to crack your neck a lot as a result of hypermobility .
Cracking your neck wrongly or holding your body in one position for a long period of time can cause compression on a nerve or pinched nerves. You can recognize the symptoms of pinched nerves is pain radiation from the neck into the shoulder and arm (cervical radiculopathy), or even change your sensation (numbness or tingling; pins and needles or a burning sensation); weakness with certain activities at that area.
When structure of your joints is damaged, it may change the spine’s discs and bones gradually. Once a disc weakens or tears, in other word, herniated disc, pressure can raise on the spinal nerve and cause the symptoms. These symptoms can ruin your quality of life as well as your productivity in work. For a long time, if it has not be treated appropriately, a protective barrier around nerve may be broken down.
At that time, you can see your joints swelling, consistent pain, or scarring because of fluid accumulation. In the worst scenario, your nerve may be lose function and cannot fully get back. Please go to see your doctor as soon as possible if you have any symptoms above.
It is also known as cervical disc herniation. The common reason for disc herniation is wearing or tearing of the disc.
When you pop your neck wrong, it may cause small tears or even cracks in the cover layer (in medical terms called annulus or capsule) of the spine disc. Every time you move your spine, it may put more pressure on the disc, so the tears and cracks will be bigger. In addition, the nucleus of the capsule in the disc is jellylike material.
As a consequence, the nucleus may be pushed out through over the tears or cracks, and lead the disc to a bigger bag, after that it breaks openly or even it will be broken into many fragments.
The symptoms you may have with misaligned vertebra pain, numbness, weakness in the neck, shoulder, chest, arms and hands. Sometimes, with a large hernia, you can be suffered from unusual tingling, irritation. Contact with your health provider if you have any symptoms above .
How to adjust your own neck
If you pop your neck regularly without any kind of consistent pain or discomfort, especially after a long time of hard- working or staying in a position lastly, this is a sign that you need take time to realign your joints. How to pop your neck appropriately? Just take a look.
Relaxing your neck
Relaxing your neck and your brain as much as you can. Mental health is very important that may affect to your general health. Take a deep breath and try to release your mind. In fact, you should not stay your neck in one position for a long time. Instead of a consistent position or staring too long at the screen, you should plan your time to get up or move every 30 minutes, take a cup of water, some fruits or snack to refresh your mind as well.
A cold pad can help
Using a cold pad or ice pack covered by a pieces of cloth put into your neck. Cold might be helpful in managing your inflammation and swelling because it makes vessels contract and limit fluid building up in the joints. If you have any symptoms of swelling or inflammation, you should apply cold cloth as this instruction and follow up to 20 minutes several times per day.
In case you suffer from diabetes mellitus or circulation problem, you should keep your cold cloth just under 10 minutes a time.
Try a warm therapy
Is it opposite to cold therapy? The answer is no. If you suffer from your tired neck and pain without any signs of inflammation or swelling. The reason of your symptoms may come from lacking of circulation. With heat, your blood vessel is dilated and allow your blood stream easy to supply for your cells. You may take your warm water on your neck when bathing or hold a heat pad on your neck. If your do not any problem with your circulation, apply this for 20 minutes a time and 10 minutes with any circulation issue.
Pain relieve pills
If your pain is severe that none of physical therapy can help immediately, you can take some pain relievers that does not need to be prescribed by doctors. The most common option is acetaminophen (Tylenol). If you have inflammation also, ibuprofen might be a good choice which combine pain relieve and resist your inflammatory condition. You may feel better after taking these pills. If it is not improved, you should go to the doctors.
Notes: It takes time to relieve your neck pain, so you should be patient and do exercise regularly.
How to crack your neck step by step
How to crack you neck is always an interesting question. You will see the answer below. Be patient and ready to follow instructions.
Stretching your muscle may be the best way to get your neck cracking better in the early stage.
Before you start your exercises, you should use a warm towel or heating pad to warm your neck up for a few minutes. The circulation to your neck is ready for stretching muscle with smooth blood stream.
Notes: every movement need to be slow down and slight to listen to your body’s reaction. You should not rush or force your neck rapidly.
- Look ahead. Gradually bend your chin near to your chest as much as you can. Hold on for 5-10 seconds. After that, coming back to your start position.
- Tilt the head back, then look up to the roofing. Hold on for 5-10 seconds. After that turning back to your start position. Exercise 1 and 2 is a turn. You should repeat for 5-10 turns a time, several times per day with your free or break time.
- Gradually bend your left ear to the left shoulder. Remember, you cannot actually make contact. When you feel a little bit stretch in the neck when you tilting your head. You are going well. Hold on this position and counting from 1 to 10 seconds. Then, coming back to your starting position.
Do it again but on your right side.
Exercise 3 and 4 is a turn. You should repeat for 5-10 turns a time, several times per day with your free or break time.
Moving your head
When every time you stretch your neck out in your fundamental range of your motion, you might also rotate your neck a little bit.
- Keep your face ahead.
- Move your head to the left side, it looks like you keep your eye over the shoulder. Hold this position from 5 to 10 seconds.
- Gradually turn over 180 degrees to the other side. Hold it again from 5 to 10 seconds.
Do this exercise to 5-10 turns a time, several times per day.
Now that you have been warming up, you might apply this overpressure exercises to extend the stretches you have push on your muscles.
- Sitting on a chair, keep the right hand underneath the right leg. Try to put your right shoulder lower a little bit.
- Turn the left arm through your head. On that position, you might touch your right ear by your left hand or over.
- Turning your left ear ahead (but do not touch) your left shoulder like you are rotating, pick your left hand slightly to stretch a bit more.
- Hold on this position up to 30 seconds by counting from 1 to 30.
- Change this exercise to the other side.
- You should do this exercise three turns on every side, two times per day.
Keep good posture
A good posture means that it will maintain your natural anatomical structure, keep all of your joints aligned.
Your ligament does not like crossing legs position because some ligaments have to stretch too much, so you should not to cross it. Moreover, you should put your feet as flat as on the floor or a footrest position. Remember to keep your hips in a higher level than your knees. You should choose your chair which is support optimally to your back. Keep your shoulder relax and balance.
Your weight should be focused on your fee. In other words, your feet hold on all your weight. You should not stretch your knees too much, keep them bent slightly. Remember, put your arms in relaxing position that arms entertain to the sides of the body spontaneously or unintentionally. Hold your trunk in and stand up ahead and keep your shoulders a little bit pulled backward, always remember neutral is the best.
Whenever you are standing up for a long period of time, turn your weight from your toes into your heels or from left foot to right foot and vice versa.
When in lying gesture
Remember when you have neck or back pain, firm is the best to relax your compression muscle. You should put a small soft pillow under your neck, your back and your knee to keep the natural spinal curves.
When will you need to see doctor or chiropractor
You should see a healthcare provider or chiropractor if:
- Consistent pain on your neck that affect your life and your work productivity.
- You see any sign of unusual swelling in your neck, injury or infection
- Stiffness in your joint that you meet some trouble in turn your neck. This condition lasts more than one month.
When you go to the doctors, they will take your history of symptoms, do physical examination and run some laboratory tests to diagnose you problem .
A doctor can ask you bout pain and numbness that might be followed or even combine with irritation of one or more of the nerves in the cervical spine. If your symptoms are likely to a blood clotting to obstruct the vessels, cervical herniated disc or misaligned vertebra, you have to take some imaging tests such as X-ray, magnetic resonance (MRI), or computerized tomography (CT scan).
In most cases, cervical herniated or misaligned are recommended with nonsurgical treatment such as rest, modified activities, relieve pain pills and chiropractice neck cracking. If they do not work, you may need to surgery to relieve your joint’s pressure and get back to your natural anatomy as much as possible .
All in all, you have seen a whole picture of how to crack your neck safely. If you find it helpful, please spread it out to your friends and family. We hope you and everybody have healthy life-style and strong minds. If you need more information about how to crack your neck, feel no hesitation to leave your comments below. Don’t forget give us your LIKE and SHARE to help us in the future!
Contributor: Huong Nguyen