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Is Cracking Your Joints Bad for You?

October 24th, 2018 by Synergy Admin

Many people start the day off with a fresh crack of the neck, back, or knuckles. It’s an action that may provide a sense of temporary relief or just a way to offset tension. Cracking joints has been the subject of much debate in the past, but in recent years there has been a lot of clinical study on the potential effects. Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ values the importance of safety in our patients and community. This topic has been very common among our patients, so we decided to answer the question: is cracking my joints bad for you?

Is Cracking My Joints Bad for You

What makes the cracking sound?

The cracking sound is a result of joints being pulled apart, which relieves pressure between them and creates a bubble of synovial fluid. The swift change in pressure in a joint resizes the bubble and creates an audible sound.

Accidental vs. intentional joint cracking

There needs to be a distinction between accidental and intentional joint cracking. Many individuals accidentally experience cracking sounds when they are either repeating a movement or quickly changing position. There is very common and typically little cause for concern. We recommend that you thoroughly stretch before repetitive activity to ease the joint pressure and surrounding muscles. However, if cracking occurs in the same spot or there are signs of swelling, tenderness and pain, then there could be a real medical issue that deserves attention.

Through extensive studies over decades, many research groups have arrived at the conclusion that intentionally cracking joints is relatively benign. Nevertheless, self-administered joint cracking may result in unintentional injury if not done correctly with chiropractic techniques. If joints are forcedly cracked, it’s possible pinch nerves and strain may occur in the surrounding muscles.

Does cracking joints give people arthritis?

There has been a long-standing belief that cracking joints increases a person’s chance for developing arthritis. Studies have yet to show a correlation between the two, despite this commonly held thought.

So, is it safe to crack my body?

There isn’t a simple answer to this question. As mentioned earlier, cracking joints is relatively harmless, but there is always a risk of injury. If you’re insistent upon cracking your body, take caution with the amount of force that you apply to your joints, nerves and muscles. Over time, you may create overstretching of the ligaments and cause laxity to the surrounding areas. If you feel the need to constantly crack or pop your joints, it may be in your best interest to get evaluated so you don’t create instability.

Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ can provide expert treatment solutions for areas where joints are sore or rigid. Our certified doctors and trainers work with patients of all ages to optimize the body’s performance and maintain peak health standards. If you have additional questions about cracking joints or our treatment options, contact us at 404.352.8900. To receive more tips and information about how to maximize your health and wellness, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+.