Most people experience some sort of neck stiffness at some point in their life. It can often be connected with sitting for too long at a computer or sleeping badly. Of course, it can also be the result of trauma. It can often feel good to roll your neck in order to make it crack. You may also wonder, can neck problems cause dizziness? Well, Iron-Neck might answer that question for you.
However, there is a big difference between sitting there rolling your neck, allowing it to crack in the process, and forcing it to crack. This is when you guide your neck around until you hear and feel the satisfying crack.
The bad news is that this may not be good for you.
When you force your neck to crack you are moving your body, specifically your neck, in a way that it shouldn’t be. That means you are likely to cause yourself an injury and the results of that could be a lot worse than neck stiffness.
The best action if your neck is stiff and normal movements have no effect is to make an appointment with a neurosurgeon. They can examine your neck and associated areas to establish the cause of the issue and how best to treat it. By adopting this approach you are more likely to find a long-term solution.
What Happens When You Crack Your Neck
To help you understand the risks associated with forcing your neck to crack it can be useful to understand what is going on inside your neck.
There are several joints in the neck and these are known as facet joints. These become inflamed when they are moved suddenly, the wrong way, or for a variety of other reasons. This inflammation causes them to swell and creates stiffness in your neck. It is often very painful.
Part of this pain is the inflammation and consequent pressure. But, part of it is also because of the pressure in your joint. All joints contain gases, including oxygen and nitrogen. They also have fluid that allows the joints to work smoothly.
Of course, if your joint is inflamed there is less room for these gases and liquid than normal. That increases the pressure on the joint and the pain.
Releasing the pressure can reduce or even eliminate the pain. Manipulating the joint puts pressure on the fluid, releasing some of the gas bubbles trapped in it and making the cracking noise you are so familiar with. If done properly it can reduce pain. Done badly it can damage the joint and make the pain worse.
Cracking can also be because the joint is too tight and you can hear the ligaments and tendons rubbing against the joint as you move it.
When It Is Bad
If you are forcing any joint to crack then you are potentially doing yourself an injury that could be much worse than the current issues. By all means, rotate your neck normally and allow it to crack, if it does. But, never force it, that’s when you should see the professionals and have it sorted properly.