Thursday, January 28, 2016

Should You Crack Your Own Neck?

Bone popping is a common habit. People will press in their knuckles, crane their back, and even pull on their own necks in order to feel that oh-so-satisfying cracking sound. Not to mention the feeling of relief that comes with it, releasing pent-up joint pressure, and providing immediate endorphins that are said to reduce pains and increase relaxation. It's also why so many are popping their own joints. 

But it is a practice that's safe?

Depends where you're popping. There's a reason physical therapists and chiropractors go to school for years – they learn about how the body is put together, how it works, and where bones should sit. Then with this training in tow, they set out to help others stay aligned. One of the most dangerous areas is the neck, where the spine is narrowed, and where a wrong move can seriously injure a patient, or send aches and pains down into their back. Possibly even worse.

Should we be attempting to do the same on our own? Probably not. It's one thing when joints give and pop when prompted only by your movements. But it's another to pull and press until a sound is heard. In fact, it's actually a dangerous way to strain muscles in a very sensitive area. 

Instead, it's best to stick with a professional and let them put your bones where they need to be. Steps like sleeping on an alignment pillow, regular stretching and strengthening exercises can help with neck health. And better yet, each of these can be done on your own. When paired, they can help eliminate the need to "crack" your neck all on their own. Or, visit your medical professional to keep everything in check, then ask their advice for making their handy work last. 

These simple steps, when combined, can help increase neck and spine health for the long-term, and eliminate pains.