cracking joints

I know we all do it to some extent. I’ve never cracked my knuckles, ever. But I do crack my back and my neck. Is this bad for me? There are so many wive’s tales about it - it’ll give you arthritis, you can break your neck, etc. but I’ve never heard any real anecdotal evidence of yea or nay. I know when I start squatting or deadlifting, I have to crack my back and it loosens up. Anyone else do this or have any “cracking” problems.

Oh, and I can just sit here and do it no problem. It makes my muscles feel looser and less tight.

Have you talked to any chiros/art’s about this?

AFAIK the ability to easily “crack” the back/neck is because of this.
Some joint is tight and to adjust the ones around it are forced to move more, ie taking up the slack for one that isnt moving enough.

At least that is what I notice when I can readily “crack” or feel the need to do so. You are basically getting temporary relief by the motion.

When you go to the chiropractor, what do they do to you?

I’ve never gone to a chiro and never even thought about it, honestly. I’m seeing a PT for my shoulder right now, so I’m going to ask her about it tomorrow morning. She’s damn knowledgeable, and I trust her. She’s the one that told me my rhomboids and low traps were underdeveloped in comparison to the rest of my back, so I know she’s honest.

Plus, she’s hot as hell and has asked me out. Too bad I’m engaged :frowning:

i crack my joints often and at will. im not old either. spine, shoulders, elbows, knuckles, toes, neck… no shit even my wrist crack, not sure if its good for me but as said before it temporarily relieves tension, and especially in my back makes me feel more “inline”
i try not to do it around others, it grosses alot of people out as it is quite audible
my $0.02

Chiropractors do crack your bones, the argument is that “they know what they are doing and you do nnot.” Whether or not it is going to affect you in the long run i do not know.

diesel is DocT? Sounds like a DocT answer;) Where’s DocT on this?

The massage therapist we take my son to says it’s a good thing. She’s taught him to crack his neck and he says it really helps. What’s weird is that after a massage, his fingers and toes crack like popcorn (I’ve experienced that myself.)

I can crack my hips, knees, ankles, fingers, wrists neck, lower and upper back, well basically nearly everything. If I dont do the lower and upper back it gets very tight and painfull, but I have a few injuries (whiplash, damaged lower spine)
a chiro will crack nearly anything they can get their hands on :slight_smile:

I was looking this up the other night. Of the studies I read about, this was the only decent one:

Effect of habitual knuckle cracking on hand function.

Castellanos J, Axelrod D.

Department of Internal Medicine, Mount Carmel Mercy Hospital, Detroit, Michigan 48235.

The relation of habitual knuckle cracking to osteoarthrosis with functional impairment of the hand has long been considered an old wives’ tale without experimental support. The mechanical sequelae of knuckle cracking have been shown to produce the rapid release of energy in the form of sudden vibratory energy, much like the forces responsible for the destruction of hydraulic blades and ship propellers. To investigate the relation of habitual knuckle cracking to hand function 300 consecutive patients aged 45 years or above and without evidence of neuromuscular, inflammatory, or malignant disease were evaluated for the presence of habitual knuckle cracking and hand arthritis/dysfunction. The age and sex distribution of the patients (74 habitual knuckle crackers, 226 non-knuckle crackers) was similar. There was no increased preponderance of arthritis of the hand in either group; however, habitual knuckle crackers were more likely to have hand swelling and lower grip strength. Habitual knuckle cracking was associated with manual labour, biting of the nails, smoking, and drinking alcohol. It is concluded that habitual knuckle cracking results in functional hand impairment.

It answers the question “Will it cause arthritis”
The question then becomes, could impaired grip strength and hand swelling result in tendon/ligament problems down the road. Personally, I think if you’re training grip strength you’re better off than the population that doesn’t crack knuckles and doesn’t work out.

I’m a tall guy (6’5) and my knees crack all the time. It is very frequent (once every half hour), and is worse right after squat day or sprints. All I have to do to crack my knees is to bend them in a regular range of motion and they crack. In fact, if they don’t crack every so often, they become uncomfortable – kind of a tight feeling in the joint. When they crack, it relieves the tension.

I’ve spoken to a couple of doctors about this, and all responses were, “If it doesn’t hurt, then it is okay.” My knees have been like this for 10+ years with no pain and no restriction of movement so I am not concerned.

I would like to hear all the others opinions on the matter, especially any of the doctors that frequent these boards.

I did it in front of my PT this morning, and she said “Don’t do that” and I asked why. She said it’s bad for your joints and ligaments and muscles. I said “Thanks for the anecdotal evidence”. I didn’t get much else out of her about joint cracking. I feel better after I crack my joints too, so it feels like a necessity. Since we’re all worried about our future, I don’t want to have arthritis in my neck and back in a few years.