How to crack & adjust your neck to relieve headaches (avoid this mistake)

Sitting in front of a computer for hours can make you experience neck pains and even headaches. If it feels like it needs to crack all the time, continue reading this article as we explain it in detail. While neck cracking doesn’t sound entirely safe, you can still do it for some benefits. However, you must be careful because unfortunate accidents can always happen.

DISCLAIMER: Cracking and adjusting your neck is unsafe, and you should not do it if you are unsure about the procedure. We recommend you read this article for entertainment purposes only. You should seek the help of a specialized chiropractor if you are struggling with ongoing pain in your neck.

Suppose you still want to proceed with this intention. In that case, we believe that you are prepared and took all the necessary safety measures to avoid accidents. In this article, we will tell you how to crack & adjust your neck to relieve headaches and how to avoid a specific mistake. 

man being readjusted

Does cracking your neck relieve headaches?

Cracking your neck has been proven to relieve headaches, and most people that do it are satisfied with the result. However, it doesn’t work the same for everyone, and you might not get ideal results. If your headaches come from a more advanced problem, you should check with a doctor and get adequate treatment.

By doing it, the muscles and vertebrae will move around better and no longer be stiff. You also benefit from muscle tension relief in the back of your shoulder. Those that spend long hours at their desk will be hunched naturally, and we often fail to realize it until it’s too late.

The long hours can pass quite quickly when we are focused on a task, and our body takes the side effects of the lack of physical activity. Your neck muscles will become stiff, and the pressure can lead to chronic pain, which can be relieved by safely cracking your neck. 

What happens when you crack your neck?

When you crack your neck, a popping sound can be heard. It happens because the capsules around the joints are being stretched. As they contain fluid, stretching them will put less pressure on the joint. When this pressure decreases, the fluids turn into gas, generating a popping noise.

In medical terms, this process is known as cavitation and is usually not harmful. Doctors call the joints in your neck “facet joints,” located on each side of your neck. When you crack it, these joints stretch, letting the fluid spread in the capsule.

As you already learned, the fluid becomes gas, and your joints pop. It is also why you can hear that specific cracking sound and feel like your neck is releasing pressure. After you spend long hours at your desk, this release can feel like a blessing, but you should still be careful when you do it. 

Can you crack your own neck: is there a safe way?

You can crack your neck, but there are some safety tips you should consider before doing it. If you are experiencing pain, you should stop immediately and make an appointment with your chiropractor. They will be able to identify the cause of this symptom and give you professional treatment.

It is recommended to stop cracking your neck during this time as you might worsen the situation. Also, be advised that you should never crack your neck twice in a row. In normal circumstances, you will have to wait up to 20 minutes before the neck can return to its original position after you cracked it.

The gas also takes longer to build up, so there is no need to consider cracking. Allow enough time before you do it again, and check with your doctor if you encounter any problems. 

Is cracking your neck bad for you?

neck cracking

It is still a heavily debated subject. While some people agree that this procedure is not harmful at all, others recommend not doing it simply because it might have some negative effects on your long-term health. When you crack your neck, the ligaments stretch to increased levels, and the cartilage will eventually wear down. That is what some believe, although it’s questionable.

Over time, these effects will create problems for you when you’re older. Those under 60 years old are cracking their necks more often, and the chance of having a stroke is significantly higher than those who don’t. It is your choice to believe in statistics or completely disregard them, but there is also a scientific explanation.

When you crack it, there is a small chance that a blood clot will appear. Once this blood clot appears, it can stop the oxygen from reaching your brain and the effects are quite serious. A significant drop in oxygen levels is why this procedure is not recommended, even if it’s not harmful in the short term. 

How to adjust your neck like a chiropractor

The best way to adjust your neck like a chiropractor is to see a chiropractor yourself. After all, they are skilled and experienced in every body muscle. By analyzing and looking for specific points, the chiropractor can easily determine all your problems and come up with ideal solutions.

However, there is a technique you can do at home. It is similar to what they do, called a cervical flexion stretch. You must move your head to the front and back, pushing a little further than you normally would. It will help with the realignment of your neck and release all the build-up tension.

The procedure consists of two simple steps and you begin by tilting your chin down to your chest, where you hold it for 15 seconds. After these seconds have passed, lift your head back and repeat this process as often as you feel necessary. 

neck being cracked

How to crack someone else’s neck

If your friend entrusts you with this procedure, there is a way in which you can crack someone else’s neck. Before you do it, ensure they are familiar with the risk they are exposing themselves to. Never do this to solve a serious problem, and advise your friend to look for a doctor if they have health issues.

Start by asking your friend to sit down and grab their head with your hands. Lean the head to the side and twist it upward. Remember that all these maneuvers should be performed softly and smoothly. Patience is important, and you should not rush through this process.

Continue by pushing the head down until you hear the cracking sound. Don’t worry if you fail on the first try, as these adjustments take some practice until they are mastered. Your friend can follow the same procedure and crack your neck as well. Together, you can learn how to improve, but do not apply this procedure often. 

Exercise to pop neck

You can do some home exercises to help you crack your neck. Many exercises are available, but we will recommend the most effective ones below.

Move #1 – Prone head lifts

Step 1 – Lay on your stomach and use your elbows to elevate yourself from the ground.

Step 2 – You should not hold any resistance in your head and let it hang so that your chin is near your chest.

Step 3 – Continuously lift your head as you attempt to look up at the sky. 

Repeating these steps over and over again will help you relieve tension and make your neck crack. Remember to hold for five seconds before you return your head to its original hanging position. Experts recommend repeating this exercise up to two times a day.

Move #2 – Supine head lifts

Step 1 – Lay on your back on any soft surface, but make sure that your body is in a straight position.

Step 2 – Raise your head and bring your chin to your chest, where you will hold it for five seconds.

Step 3 – Bring your head down to the surface slowly.

This method is similar to the first one; the difference is made by which side you are lying on. Either way, the results are guaranteed, and your stiffness will surely disappear. Repeating this exercise twice a day is ideal. 

Signs you shouldn’t pop your neck.

While the process is not harmful if done correctly, there are some things you should consider before you start doing it consistently. Some people are forbidden from doing it simply because they have other health problems that can interfere with this procedure.

You should stop immediately if you notice dizziness or lightheadedness. In some extreme situations, sensible people might also faint due to the thinning of the blood. While your neck might feel stiff from long hours at the desk, numbness is not common. If you notice it around your head, this can be a sign of damage and will lead to paralysis if left untreated.

Those suffering from heart problems might notice chest pain and shortness of breath once they crack their neck. This symptom is more than enough to indicate a serious problem, and you should not do it again. Seek the help of a professional to create a treatment according to your needs. 

How do you release tension in your neck?

When you have tension in your neck, you can do a couple of things to release this tension. With ideal stress management methods and relaxation techniques, you can feel fresh again after spending long hours at the office with minimal physical activity.

To release muscle tension in your neck, you can try the following:

  • Getting a massage
  • Doing yoga
  • Practicing meditation daily
  • Taking a warm bath
  • Applying heat or ice to the muscle

These solutions are effective and will help you feel better. They are also effective if you are stressed because they have been proven to make us feel better. Meditation and yoga should be practiced consistently if you want to see long-term results. Mental health is just as important as physical health; we should not disregard it. 

Why does my neck crack so much? What does it mean?

Hypermobility is a condition that makes you feel like the neck is cracking more often than usual. It occurs when your joints move more than normal, and their range can be significantly higher compared to someone who does not have this problem.

Constantly cracking your neck has negative effects in the long term, and one of these effects is the permanent stretching of the ligaments in your joints. Medical experts call it perpetual instability and strongly recommend not doing it too often.

Still, in most cases, this is nothing to worry about. There is a low chance that you are suffering from hypermobility. Still, you should check in with an expert and seek professional advice. Whenever you notice any signs that make you worried about your health, it is important to ask a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. 

Popping feeling in my neck, followed by a warm sensation

If you sometimes feel a warm or burning sensation in your neck after you crack it, you should stop doing this immediately. There are a few reasons why you experience this condition, and some of them are:

Herniated disc – This condition will create symptoms such as a pinched nerve in the arm and fingers and neck pain. Burning sensations are often experienced, and they are accompanied by numbness and weakness.

Torticollis – If you feel a warm sensation in your neck, this condition occurs when you have a bad posture. Still, sometimes it can be the result of an injury.

Nerve Compression – Your nerves can be pressed whenever a disc in the spine is moving. You might experience this as a burning pain in the neck.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – If a single nerve gets damaged, you will feel a burning sensation throughout your neck. It can happen in some cases where cracking your neck leads to unfortunate accidents.

FAQ

Why does my neck crack when I roll it?

As you roll your head around, cavitation will happen. It occurs when the oxygen that builds up between the joints and ligaments is released and makes a cracking sound. You will experience relief, but it is not recommended to do it often. 

I cracked my neck, and now it hurts – what happened?

Your neck is full of nerves, and you must have damaged one if you experience pain after you cracked it. It can be extremely painful and make it very difficult for you to move your neck. You should be more careful with this procedure and only do it safely. 

Can you get arthritis from cracking your neck?

There is no risk of getting arthritis from cracking your neck, and this problem has been carefully studied. Experts have run several experiments, and there is no evidence that cracking it will lead to arthritis in the future. 

Why do popping joints feel good?

Whenever you crack your joints, endorphins are released in your body. The pituitary gland produces these chemicals in your brain, and it helps you tremendously manage and relieve pain in your body. A feeling of satisfaction can easily create a bad habit, so be careful with the frequency of this procedure. 

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