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Learn about cracking the neck, its causes, and treatment

Learn about the neck cracking, its causes, and treatment

The term "cracking the neck" refers to the sound that comes out of the neck while detecting rapid movements originating from the joints and ligaments.

The term “cracking the neck” is a general term for the sound that comes from all joints of the body. Some people hear the sound of crackling from knee, lower back, hips, ankles, or even toes.

People often make movements that emit crackling from their bones, and orthopedic technicians may move the bone to deliberately click on treatment targets.

In this article, we will talk about why the neck makes a cracking the neck sound, what are the risks involved, and why the chiropractor moves the neck bones to the neck to make this sound.

There are three main causes for cracking joints, specifically the neck:

Gas disposal

Fluid in the joints helps the bones and tissues move smoothly together. These liquids contain oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.

There are double joints in the neck, known as the facial joints. These joints work up and down in all directions. Each joint of these joints is enclosed in a purse filled with fluid and gases.

When the joint wall expands between two joints, gases rapidly release in the form of bubbles, which results in the sound cracking or breaking. This process is termed "boiling" or "evaporation".

the movement

Tendons and ligaments are affected by joint movement, noting that tendons and ligaments are fibers that connect bones and muscles with the joint.

If the tendon moves slightly out of place, a sudden sound will sound when it returns to its original position.

The tightening of the ligaments may also cause a clap from the bone when the joint moves. This often occurs in the ankle and knee joints.


Arthritis causes a loss of elasticity in its cartilage, and the joint surface between the two bones becomes soft, resulting in crackling when this joint moves.

When should I consult a doctor?

People with pain or neck problems are advised not to self-click. This is because the nerves and blood vessels operating throughout the neck can be damaged if the neck is not properly cracked. As a home remedy, it is recommended to massage the neck gently instead.

Learn about the neck cracking, its causes, and treatment

The patient is advised to see a doctor if he feels pain or difficulty moving his neck. You should also consult a chiropractor or doctor if you feel pain and numbness in the extremities caused by a crackling of the neck.

Orthopedic doctors often recommend chiropractic or referral to a specialized orthopedic surgeon. Where the physical therapist or doctor studies the situation of the person in an attempt to understand the cause of the problem. Then he applies a gentle massage to solve the problem and return the bones to their normal state.

Possible risks and complications

Picking a neck deliberately is a common practice that orthopedics and chiropractors adopt. This process is known as the cervical spine massage. Some doctors believe that this practice does not entail severe risks and the rate of injuries resulting from it is very low.

In reality, however, there are several risks and side effects associated with cracking the neck, but it is the specialists' opinion that the potential benefits overcome these negatives.

Possible risks of crackling and possible complications:

brain attack

Cracking the neck can cause the spinal artery that supplies the brain with blood, leading to a stroke, but the possibility of it occurring is very rare.

Individuals with a habit of self-cracking are also more likely to have a stroke than others. It is especially common in individuals under the age of 60.

A blood clot or thrombus

Cracking the neck in some cases may cause blood clotting in the neck. Blood clotting in the neck is very dangerous because it can stop the supply of oxygen to the brain.

in the spine

Cracking the neck presses the joints. And if this process is performed frequently, it can lead to instability in the neck, which in turn leads to osteoporosis, and the latter means that the tissues at the ends of the bones become weak and fragile.

Difficulty moving

Repeated neck clicking can cause damage to the connective tissue in the spine. With the passage of time, this can lead to difficulty and slow movement, as may cause arthritis.

Age risk factors

As age is one of the risk factors that increase the possibility of complications from a crackling neck.

In young people, the muscles and ligaments are larger and stronger compared to the elderly. Therefore, the process of cracking the neck in young people is relatively safe, and with age, the blood vessels become stiffer. Which increases the risk of an arterial explosion.

The bones of the elderly also become more susceptible to fracture in the event of a rapid and strong movement.

Is it useful to deliberately crackling the neck?

Clicking neck pain relief is a common practice used by doctors and physical therapists. There are also risks resulting from this process, such as bleeding in the blood vessels or damage to nerves, but it is rare. The severity of the risk also diminishes to a minimum in people who have healthy bones, ligaments, and muscles.

Neck massage, which can often lead to cracking of the vertebrae and bones, leads to the expansion and relaxation of soft tissues and is therefore useful for correcting bone spine positions and relieving pain.

Those who perform this process say it is more effective than other treatments, such as the muscle exercises that support the spine.

It has been shown that a neck massage by a chiropractor helps:
Reducing pain caused by migraines
Relieve neck pain
Reducing lower back pain
Important note: In the event that the person chooses to follow the method of massage therapy, he must choose a qualified person, trained, and expert in this treatment.

In the event that the person suffers from neck pain or difficulty in moving the neck, some other treatment methods or lifestyle changes such as:

Undergo massage sessions with a specialist.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers
Sleep on a firmer bed or take a new sleep position
Perform neck stretching and strengthening exercises
Apply ice or warm compresses to the painful area
Stay away from heavy shoulder bags or backpacks.
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