Is Cracking Your Knuckles Bad For You?

Many people enjoy cracking their knuckles. Some crack their knuckles out of nervousness before public speaking, or as a superstitious tradition during a sporting event. Students have told us that they crack their knuckles before diving into a tough problem on a test and worry that others in the room will hear. Whether or not your crack your knuckles, it’s very common, and many worry that it could cause problems like arthritis. In today’s blog, we’ll be talking about what we know about knuckle cracking, whether it is bad for you, and what popping sounds in other joints can mean.

If you’re someone who has been wary about scheduling a chiropractor appointment because you’re not a fan of joint cracking/popping, then Revelations Chiropractic in Fort Collins may be for you! We specialize in a torque release technique, a special type of chiropractic adjustment that does not involve any cracking or popping. Instead, we use a tool called an Integrator that replaces the thrust and movement components of classic, hand chiropractic adjustments. This low-force chiropractic adjusting method allows the nervous system to better integrate and process the adjustment, meaning that the benefits you receive last well after you’ve left our chiropractors! Learn more and schedule an appointment today.

What We Know About Knuckle Cracking

That popping sound you hear when you crack your knuckles is created by the space you make between the finger joints. The extra space causes gas bubbles in the joint fluid to burst, and they sound like a tiny balloon popping. That fluid between your joints is what keeps your joints lubricated and pain-free. You can’t pop your knuckles more than once right away because it takes some time for the gas bubble to accumulate again within the joint.

People speculate that part of the appeal of knuckle cracking is the 20-minute period between cracking the joint and the time the gas bubble reform. The joint could feel looser and as if there were less pressure. Most doctors believe that the satisfaction is primarily psychological, though.

Does Knuckle Cracking Cause Harm?

Cracking your knuckles does not harm your fingers or joints. However, if you are experiencing pain when you are cracking your knuckles, it could be a sign that you have another condition that is being aggravated by the knuckle cracking. Any pain, swelling, or difficulty with motion is a sign that the joint is damaged. So if you’ve habitually cracked your knuckles and are just now noticing pain or swelling, it’s probably a sign of something else going on — not that all that all that knuckle cracking has caught up with you and ruined your hands.

So if you don’t experience pain, feel free to keep on cracking those knuckles! Though if it bothers the people around you, it might be nice if you stepped outdoors to indulge or did so away from everyone else.

Sounds From Other Joints

Our knuckles aren’t the only joints that crack or pop. You’ve probably noticed that your knees have popped when you kneel down or try to stand up after sitting on the floor for a long period of time. Or maybe you’ve been in a yoga class and tried an especially challenging move and heard your back crack.

We don’t know what causes most joint noises and scientists suspect that they may come from gas bubbles, bones rubbing against each other, or tendons sliding across an irregular surface. If there is an absence of pain, swelling, or other symptoms of a joint problem, these sounds are most likely nothing to be concerned about. Some of us just have noisier joints than others — and that’s completely normal!

If you do feel back pain or joint pain, though, along with sounds like popping or cracking when you squat or move, you should contact your doctor or stop in to see a chiropractor. They can help determine what may be causing the pain and how to help you start feeling better.

Revelation Chiropractic in Fort Collins

Our Fort Collins team of chiropractors is here to help you find relief from back pain and other forms of joint pain. If you’re hearing popping or cracking sounds from joints that are causing you pain, get in touch with our chiropractors. We’re passionate about the power of chiropractic adjustments — we’ve seen how it can change lives! And we started our chiropractic practice as a way to help people of all ages live happier and healthier lives.

We use the Torque Release Technique to align your spine without any loud popping or cracking, so even those who are bothered by this can experience the benefits of chiropractic care. If you’re suffering from lower back pain, spinal pain, or other central nervous pain, our chiropractors can help. Contact us today and ask about our new patient special!

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