We all know people who crack their own joints. They twist their neck to an awkward angle and… “pop”, you hear their neck crack. Or they twist their spine this way and that to get that satisfying “clunk” from their low back. It’s a natural phenomenon that can happen when you simply turn to reverse your car for example.
Most people start cracking their own joints because they feel the need to. They feel stiff or tight and when they feel the “crack”, they also feel relief… temporarily
The truth is, if we think of 3 joints in a row in your spine and the middle one is stuck (for want of a better word), the joints above and/ or below can become slightly more mobile to compensate and give you the movement you need. When you hear the cracking joint, it may not be the one that really needs to release but the ones already compensating! Hence the temporary relief.
People then start doing it more and more to get that satisfaction until eventually it becomes a habit. A habit that you don’t even realise how frequently you’re doing it. The trouble with this is, you can cause your joints to become hypermobile (or too mobile) or even weak over time. This can be just as problematic as if your joints are too stiff.
The general advice is to stop trying to crack your own joints and if you feel there is an issue, seek help. “But won’t a chiropractor just crack my joints too?” I hear you ask. Well they might but they’ll be looking for that specific joint that’s bothering you. They will also address any soft tissue dysfunction and give you advice on how to prevent the issue happening again. They will help you find out WHY you feel the need to crack your joints in the first place.