As a chiropractor, I often hear of people telling me that they have to “crack” their own neck on a regular basis or they may ask me, is it all right to crack my own neck? The answer is NO, it’s not okay and here’s why:
Most of us have witnessed someone cracking their neck, and we think it is no big deal. It may feel good or provide temporary relief, but manipulating your own neck can be hazardous to your health. The neck contains not only ligaments, blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and bone but also the lower part of your brain stem and spinal cord. These structures are responsible for the communication between the brain and the body as well as sending oxygen to the brain.
The more you “crack” your own neck the more you want to do it. It can seem addicting! It tends to be a malicious cycle, and a good reason to get the underlying problem addresses at a chiropractic office. If you’re experiencing tightness or stiffness within your neck, there’s a good chance that you are developing a structural problem.
Mobilizing your own neck can create instability within the cervical spine. The ligaments that are designed to support and stabilize your neck become stretched and lax. This creates more work for the supporting muscles. Over time these overworked muscles become weak. In addition it leads to hyper- mobilization and instability. As the joints become more unstable, the body works to counteract this by laying down more bone. This leads to an irreversible condition called osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. When degeneration is present there is more compression on the spinal structures such as the disc and nerve root which creates health problems and often pain.
Chiropractors are trained in making specific adjustments in the cervical spine. Receiving chiropractic adjustments allows for the proper motion of the joints which counteracts any osteoarthritis or slows down the degenerative processes. It also prevents many of the health problems that self “cracking” can cause. In addition, a chiropractor can correct any structural issue that is causing the discomfort and urge to “crack” your own neck in the first place.
If you or someone you know experiences neck tension or the urge to pop your own neck, call 952-681-2863 now to take advantage of your free consultation at Relief Plus Chiropractic. Dr. Sara Hillesheim is a chiropractor at Relief Plus Chiropractic in Minnetonka MN. We are here to help you improve your life and create a healthy future!