Why Cracking Your Neck Is Bad For You?

Ever wondered if cracking your neck is bad for you? The neck has several bones which aided by strong musclessupport it and allow the head to move freely. I have studied the phenomena of neck cracking and have found plenty of medical evidence to prove that it is harmful and may cause serious health concerns.

Neck cracking is most harmful when you use your hands to intentionally swing your neck to one side with reasonable force. The cracking sound that accompanies this action is from the ligaments that support the neck and connect it to our torso. The issue is that ligaments are temperamental and do not easily repair themselves.

Many of us think that neck cracking is not a serious issue as we have seen many of our friends and colleagues do it. Some people who crack their neck told me that this practice was recommended to them by their friends as a technique for reducing the stress felt at the base of the neck. But, all scientific evidence points out that neck cracking does nothing to relieve stress, it only contributes in stretching the ligaments and causing more degeneration in the neck joint.

The impulse to crack the neck is because some of us have joints with hypermobility. What this means is that such joints have a larger movement range that is normal. In joints with this problem, the supporting muscles have to work harder to restrict the movements of the joint. Over time these muscles become weak and you feel as if they are constricting your movements. This is when you have the urge to indulge in neck cracking.

Your joint may feel good for a short time after you crack it, but the reality is that the ligaments in the joint become more loose and increase the mobility of your joint. This puts additional stress on the muscles and you will be feeling the urge to have a go at neck cracking more often. Neck cracking could also be a contributing factor to the stiffness in the neck region that some of experience in cold weather.

How do you avoid the habit of neck cracking? Well, you could begin by starting a routine of muscle toning exercises. As your muscles build up their strength, the tendency to crack your neck should also reduce with time. Turning your neck slowly to either side every hour or so should also help in preventing the build up of physical stress in this region.

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Comments

  1. You are incorrect that the click is from the ligaments. It is from gas being released due to cavitation within the joint itself(1). You are right that self clicking is bad for you though. It does lead to hypermobility.
    1. Sandoz R. The significance of the manipulative crack and of other articular noises. Annals of the Swiss Chiropractic Association 1969;4:47-68.
    http://www.sundialclinics.co.uk

  2. Awesome article with a great explanation for something we frequently see among friends and family.

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