What exactly happens when one goes cracking their neck all the time? A Krick - Krack - Krick sound is produced. Well, yes, but it is the sound of nitrogen gas, that is released, due to the negative pressure within the joint. This usually happens due to over stressing of the ligaments, that support the joint. You will see people cracking their neck, knuckles, etc. because they feel the need to release a certain amount of tension, which has built up in the joints. The tension in the joints can either be due to misalignment of the vertebral structure or due to fixation of the spinal joint. Have you ever wondered why does a person feel the need do this action again and again? Very often the structure, where there is least resistance is cracked, that is precisely the reason, why people have the continual desire to pop the joint time and again. Let's see what are neck cracking side effects.
Is Safe to Crack Your Neck?
The harmless popping of gas due to cracking the neck is a result of a person putting a lot of stress onto the joint. The stress causes the ligaments, that surround the joint, to stretch and leave them more and more unstable at every pop. This can further lead to perpetual instability as the fixation is not corrected. If the instability in the structure of the spine reaches a certain level, the body finds a way out and fixes the problem by creating a brace. To fix this, the joint grows a bone bridge between the two vertebrae and stabilizes the joint permanently which is called 'osteoarthritis'. This condition is irreversible and serious.
The other side effect is that it can lead to a stroke in people under the age of 60. According to the extensive research carried out, people who are in the habit of neck joint cracking have a higher risk of stroke. The strokes are caused as the cervical arteries, which pass through the back of the neck and head, tear. In some cases the tearing can cause bleeding and blood clotting. The blood clot can eventually pass into the brain. The other side effect is that it can temporarily deprive the brain of oxygen. Severe complications like a minor or fatal stroke or a transient ischemic attack may be caused due to the cracking of the neck.
This action can also lead to less mobility in the neck region with the passage of time. The reason behind this is that every time the neck is cracked, it wears down the cartilage in the vertebrae and leads to neck arthritis in future. Very often, pain results from pressure on some nerves in the area.
There are some chiropractors who are of the opinion that since cracking the joints causes the gas bubbles to be released, it does not have any effect on the joint per se. However, most of them agree that this threatens a major artery in that region. Some of the chiropractors are of the opinion that if a neck joint is cracked by a chiropractor then it is relatively safe as they are aware how much pressure to apply to a particular joint. At the same time the professionals are in a better position to move each vertebra to the right location.
There are different views on neck cracking side effects, but no one supports this habit 100%. In case you have visited the chiropractor or have cracked your neck on your own and you suspect a stroke, call your healthcare professional immediately. The most common symptoms of stroke are dizziness, inability to move any half of the body, confusion, blurred vision, difficulty in speaking, or a throbbing headache. Your chiropractor may not be in a position to give you the required emergency treatment and the stroke can prove to be fatal or have permanent effects on your body.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.