Is It Bad to Crack Your Neck?

Does cracking or popping your neck relieves you from neck pain or tension? Well, it could be a temporary solution to your neck pain problem. A lot of people get addicted to neck cracking or popping. It may have a positive mental effect, but there are risks involved. Your neck is a very sensitive area and you should always be extremely careful about it.

So, is it bad to crack your neck and are there any alternative exercises and/or medical treatments to neck cracking? In this article, we have tried to provide you with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about neck popping.

Now, without any further delay, let’s begin!

Why Does Your Neck Crack?

You may be habitual of cracking your joints. A lot of people crack different joints on their body including toes, fingers, knuckles, back, and obviously their necks. Well, there are many theories about neck cracking. 

Some medical experts think that the bone structures in your cervical spine are rubbed together to create that cracking or popping effect. While others believe that there are these tiny bubbles that form and burst when you apply pressure to that specific part of your joint.

What Causes That Popping Sound?

A lot of us feel satisfied when we hear that popping sound coming out of our neck. So, what causes that cracking sound? Actually, you get to hear that special sound effect because of the capsules around your joint. They stretch when you apply pressure on them and releasing their fluids. Once you start decreasing the pressure, these fluids turn into gases and this causes that popping or cracking sound.

How Risky Is It to Crack Your Neck?

Until you are doing it right and not too often, it would not be harmful, but it could pose serious health risks if you are doing it excessively or in the wrong way. If you try to crack your neck forcefully, you could even pinch a nerve in your neck. It could be very painful and you won’t be able to move your neck. 

If you are cracking your neck too hard, you could actually strain the muscles and joints around your neck. It could make your neck feel heavy when you try moving it. There is another medical condition known as hypermobility. If you are cracking your neck a lot, this may result in your joints getting permanently stretched. They would move more freely than normal.

Sometimes applying way too much pressure while cracking your neck can damage the important blood vessels in your body. The puncture in all these important blood vessels in your neck would eventually lead to blood clotting. So, always consult your doctor or maybe a chiropractor if start to feel a never-ending urge to crack your neck all the time, instead of putting your health at risk.

Can Neck Cracking Cause Arthritis?

The habit of neck popping or cracking may have many health risks but as far as arthritis is concerned, as of now, there is no medical literature that relates this medical condition with the cracking of joints. 

Cervical osteoarthritis, which is more commonly referred to as neck arthritis, is not caused by the habit of neck cracking. This condition is developed in some people naturally as they age. The protective cartilage in bones gradually wears down with time that could cause some people to suffer from cervical osteoarthritis. 

Alternative Exercises to Neck Cracking

Do you want to put an end to your habit of neck cracking? Well, we have got you covered. Here are some of the most common and easy alternatives to neck cracking that could help you relieve the pain or tension you are feeling in your neck.

Alternative #1: Relax your shoulders. Sit in a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. You can also do this exercise while standing. Now, look straight ahead. Slowly start to slide your head back making small movements and tuck your chin. Hold that position for at least five minutes and then relax and repeat.

Alternative #2: Another incredible way to soothe your neck is by applying heat using a heating pad or a hot water bottle that most of us usually have in our home first aid kit. You can also try using an ice pack and apply it to that particular part of your neck to subside pain or swelling.

Alternative #3: The pain in your neck could also be something related to your posture. Make sure to check your posture. It is very important for you to maintain good posture even if you are working or relaxing at home. Bad postures can put unnecessary pressure on joints causing them to hurt. It could also be the reason for the pain and tension you feel in your neck that urges you to crack or pop your neck joints.

Now, whenever you feel the tempt to crack or pop your neck joints, try one of the aforementioned alternatives and exercises. You can also consider taking physical treatment like massage or physiotherapy from an experienced medical professional to get rid of neck pain.

So, is it bad to crack your neck? Well, now you know the answer and the exercises and treatments you can try instead of neck cracking. For more informative articles related to your health, keep following Also, subscribe to our email newsletter to catch all our latest updates.

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Written by Spencer K