Why is “popping” your own neck (or anywhere in the spine really) bad for you?
Some clicking and popping is natural for your body- but make sure you aren’t forcing your joints into unnatural positions. When you twist your own spine or force it to pop there are a few things that are happening. Let’s take a deeper look.
The reason you feel like you need to crack your neck it’s because there is a bone that isn’t moving enough, or is moving in the wrong pattern. The problem is that the areas above and below this stuck spot in your spine have to move more to make up for the stuck one. When you twist your head or back, the popping noises you hear are the those areas that are already moving too much. It feels good temporarily but it’s not long lasting relief. By moving those already moving joints, the stuck joints get more stuck in comparison and actually result in more discomfort down the road.
Unless you have someone put their hands on the correct bone in the correct direction, the problem will persist, even though you may have a normal global range of motion.
The second problem: you may get more movement, but it still isn’t going to be moving the right way, causing more wear and tear on the joints surrounding the problem and potentially leading them to be stuck as well.
The third problem: there is a lot of anatomy surrounding your spine- not just the bones- that can become damaged, especially if you force your head, neck, or body into a drastic position.
Movement is life. Make sure your spine is moving properly by getting it checked by a skilled professional.
Adapted from: Kallie Rogers, DC