One of the most common questions I get is, "Is it bad for you to crack your own neck or back?" Usually a parent asking because their child or teen is constantly doing it. Sometimes though I'll have an adult tell me, "I don't need your services because I can crack my own back." The second obviously is avoiding asking the first question, they already assume they are doing themselves a service. So let me answer the first question to answer them both.
When someone "cracks" their own neck or back it's usually because they have an urge to do so because of increased pressure building in the joints of a certain area of their body. Most commonly it's either the knuckles or the spine. The problem arises because when you develop increased pressure in a specific area of the body, particularly the spine, the joints above and below the problem area become hyper-mobile to make up for the lack of motion in between. So when you "crack" yourself, more than likely you are cracking the joints above and below the specific problem area. This can feel good temporarily because you will release endorphin's into the blood stream and a lighter feeling can result. But give it 20 minutes to an hour, its back in most cases. This is when the cycle can begin.
Routinely doing this over an extended period of time can lead to a condition called ligament laxity. Like stretching a rubber band over and over again until the elastic is worn out. If that occurs, your body will increase muscle tension and firing to protect the loose ligaments, and even more discomfort can arise.
That is why here, at DeMoulin Family Chiropractic, our adjustments are always specific in order to address the cause. If you know anyone who repeatedly "cracks" themselves please do them a favor and refer them to a professional to be evaluated before more damage than good is done. Our office is located in Wheaton, IL and can be found at 11 Danada Square East. You can reach us at 630-269-9435.