Sometimes hearing the snap, crackle and popping noises in the body might not be a good thing! A broken bone, a torn ligament, dislocation of joints! If it’s painful, you’d better see someone about it.

Other times you might hear popping noises when simply stretching your body, giving someone a big hug or pushing or pulling your knuckles in certain directions. What is happening? And is this good for you?

What makes it pop?

The noises come from a mixture of gases in the synovial fluid of the joint. These usually consist of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. It was once believed to be a collapse of gas bubbles but studies have shown that it’s the opposite. There is a formation of a vacuum at the joint as the bones separate quickly which causes gases to accumulate. Once it cavitates and makes the popping noise the gases will have to settle before it can be popped again. Usually after 10- 15 minutes.

Imagine a rubber toy arrow stuck on a glass window and when you pull it off it creates a suction popping noise.

Is it good for you?

Generally, these popping noises aren’t painful. Again, if they are, seek help. But while they are not painful are they good or bad for you?

It was believed that there was a link between cracking of your knuckles and arthritis. However, studies showed no evidence of this happening. In fact, the separation or traction gives the sensation of your joint being freer or looser. This decrease in tension is the reason why people find it so relieving and will constantly do it. Other reasons may include, habit, nervous reaction or stress, or they just enjoy the sensation.

These are not good reasons to continually crack your joints though. Too much movement in a joint is hypermobility which can lead to further issues. Muscles surrounding the joint will start tightening up to compensate for the excessive movement. The constant contraction of the muscle will lead to muscle fatigue and weakness. These will cause addition aches, pain, stiffness or tightness.

What should I do?

Chiropractors are trained to adjust joints which are stuck to restore joint motion. They will often advise to leave the other joints alone and refrain from self adjusting (leave it to the experts)! When done properly an adjustment will help restore proper biomechanics.

In the meantime, continue to stretch and stay active. Movement is the key to keeping everything limber and healthy. And it is fine if joints coincidentally pop, you just don’t want to force anything and try to make it go yourself!

If you are uncertain about how Chiropractic can help you, take advantage of a FREE consultation here to discuss your case or phone the clinic on (08) 9298 8332.

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