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Man standing with hands folded cracking his knuckles with title: Is joint cracking bad for you?

Is Bone Cracking or Joint Cracking (Popping) Bad For Your Joints? 

The act of “cracking joints” or “popping knuckles” has been a subject of intrigue and mystery for many. 

While painless joint cracking is typically not considered harmful, common sense would dictate that the intentional and repetitive cracking of one’s joints could potentially cause discomfort in social situations and even physical pain.

Keep reading as we delve deep into this topic and provide you with interesting information that you didn’t know!

Is bone cracking or Crepitus bad?

Cracking your knuckles or other joints may not be considered harmful, yet it may be perceived as bothersome to those around you if you engage in this habit repeatedly. In certain instances, excessive force when cracking a joint, particularly in the back, could result in nerve pinching or muscle strain, leading to injury.

A 2011 study revealed that the popping joints provide a physical sense of relief from pressure, regardless of whether you’re doing it yourself or receiving chiropractic treatment.

What is the cause of my joint cracking?

The sound is caused by the formation & bursting of nitrogen gas bubbles in the synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is a cushion that lubricates our joints, akin to how motor oil prevents friction and conserves our car’s engine. This activity of release of nitrogen bubbles is called Cavitation.

It takes roughly 20 minutes for these bubbles to reform before one can crack their joints again. Interestingly, the satisfaction derived from crepitus might stem from this brief period. During the time it takes for them to re-form, one may experience a sense of ease in their joints. 

Joint Cracking During Exercise: Cause for Concern?

During exercise, it’s not uncommon to hear popping sounds emanating from your body. These sounds can be attributed to muscle activity and occur as the muscle stretches, potentially leading to a popping noise. For instance, a tendon may snap in and out of place during stretching, exercise, dancing, or repetitive movements in your job.

However, joint sounds can also be caused by other factors, such as cartilage wearing away, which can arise from aging. Over time, joint surfaces can become roughened, leading to cracking sounds when in motion. Arthritis can also be a contributing factor, leading to cartilage degeneration and subsequent joint noise.

Will Joint Cracking Cause Arthritis?

It’s a popular notion that popping or cracking your knuckles may lead to arthirits. This myth has now been successful debunked by a study conducted in 2011.  This research reveals that cartilage thinning  does not happen due to joint cracking and is unlikely to cause osteoarthritis.

The same goes for Knuckle cracking, there aren’t any authoritative studies telling us that it is harmful in any way. It is easy to see how there is no evidence linking the cracking of joints to the development of arthritis. Therefore, it does not lead to osteoarthritis.  

Usually, it is nothing to worry about, but if the cracking is accompanied by pain or hand swelling, then that’s indicative of an underlying issue. 


When Should I go to a Chiropractor for Chiropractic Care?

As we age, our muscles and bones naturally become weak due to wear and tear. When cracking and crepitus happens, it is usually not painful. However, if it causes joint pain, seeking help is recommended. A chiropractic doctor can diagnose the problem and refer you to an orthopedic surgeon if necessary.

If your joint pain persists, you may want to consider treatment from a Chiropractor. Chiropractors are primary care professionals who specialize in relieving pain in the spine and other joints.  They use a variety of techniques such as manipulation, mobilizations, and exercise routines.

Overall, seeking medical help is the best way to alleviate joint pain. A Chiropractor can provide insight and treatment to help you feel better.

How can you avoid creaky joints?

Orthopedists and Sports Medicine experts suggest that an effective strategy to prevent creaking joints is to stay active throughout the day. They often refer to physical activity as “motion is lotion” since it stimulates the production of natural lubricants within the body. When an individual is sedentary for extended periods, the fluid in the joints becomes stagnant, resulting in stiffness and discomfort. 

However, by engaging in regular physical activity, you increase blood flow to your joints, which promotes the secretion of lubricating fluids. This helps to reduce friction and ease any discomfort you may be experiencing. Therefore, it is advisable to take frequent breaks and incorporate movement into your daily routine. You can try stretching, walking, or even light exercises to maintain an active lifestyle and prevent joint problems.

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