Cracking joints is dangerous

Q: My son “cracks” his neck many times a day because he says it feels good. Isn’t that dangerous?

A: Yes, it certainly is! Your son’s frequent “cracking” or “popping” of his neck bones may feel good at the time but he is creating more problems for himself in the long run.
Some people report an urge to pop bones in the neck or back because they feel an immediate release of discomfort or stiffness. Although the harm associated with cracking knuckles is debatable, cracking your own spinal bones is unsafe without question.

By haphazardly cracking spinal bones, you create potential damage and instability of the spine. Unstable spinal joints, consisting of vertebrae, discs and other tissues, are likely to develop degenerative arthritis and disc trouble such as disc herniations or tears.

Cracking your neck or back can easily injure delicate nerve tissue. The spinal cord is encased within the bones (i.e., vertebrae) of the spinal column. Forcing spinal bones to shift randomly can cause misalignments that irritate the spinal cord or pinch vital nerves branching from the cord.

The fact that someone has the urge to crack the neck or back suggests that an underlying problem exists and should be examined by a doctor. Doctors of chiropractic are experts at evaluating the neck and back. Once the source of the problem is determined, a chiropractor can begin corrective care or refer the patient to another healthcare professional if necessary.

Please note that some chiropractors still employ methods that may result in a cracking sound during a chiropractic adjustment. Very different from indiscriminately popping spinal bones, chiropractors are trained to deliver precise adjustments to the spine. Such precision involves knowing exactly when, where and how to adjust a particular spinal bone. This essential knowledge can only be gathered by a thorough examination.