When you visit a chiropractor, one thing that commonly happens is when the chiropractor aligns you, your back and/or neck are cracked. Some people are even capable of cracking their neck on their own. It is one of the body’s strange capabilities that sometimes leaves us wondering why it happens and how. The article below describes this in depth. Start reading the first part below and then follow the link to continue reading on!
What is neck cracking and why does it happen?
By Tom Seymour | Last reviewed Tue 7 November 2017
Reviewed by William Morrison, MD
The term “cracking” when referring to neck cracking is the popping sound that occurs when quick motions loosen the joint and ligaments in the neck.
Any joint can be “cracked,” and it is common for people to also crack their knuckles, lower back, hips, ankles, and toes.
People often do this themselves, although it can also be done by a professional. In general, in the case of neck cracking, the professional who performs this maneuver would be a chiropractor.
In this article, we take a look at when neck cracking might occur, what the risks might be, and why chiropractors might do it.
Why does neck cracking happen?
There are three key reasons why joints, and specifically the neck, will crack:
There is fluid in the joints that helps the bones and tissue to move together smoothly. This fluid contains oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.
In the neck, there are paired joints, known as facet joints, that run up and down each side. Each of these facet joints has a capsule around it that is filled with fluid and gas.
When the joint capsule is stretched, gas is rapidly released in the form of bubbles. This release of gas makes a popping or cracking sound.
The process is also referred to as “boiling” or “cavitation.”
When a joint moves, it also affects the tendons and ligaments, which are the fibers connecting the bones and muscles in the joint.
If a tendon moves slightly out of place, it can make a snapping noise when it returns to its original position.
Similarly, the ligaments can tighten when the joint is moved and can make a cracking sound. This will often occur in the ankle or knee.
If a joint is affected by arthritis, the cartilage can lose its smoothness. As the joint surface becomes rougher, it can make a noise when it moves.
When to see a doctor
A person is normally advised not to try and crack their neck themselves if they are experiencing pain or problems with this part of their body. This is because there are nerves and blood vessels that run through the neck that can be damaged if cracking is not done properly. Gentle stretching is advised instead, as a home treatment.
If someone is experiencing pain or a lack of mobility in their neck, they are advised to go to a doctor to seek treatment.
Any pain, numbness in limbs, or loss of strength experienced by neck cracking should be assessed by a medical professional as well. Doctors will often recommend chiropractic care or referral to an orthopedic surgeon.
The chiropractor will examine the person to try and work out what is causing the problem. They will then try and restore normal body movement through gentle manipulation techniques.
Continue reading: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319944.php
Source: Medical News Today