If you are cracking your joints in your fingers, neck or back, you do not want to miss this video. I’ll show you the only safe way to crack your joints. The most common joints we target are the knuckles, neck, and back, but you want to make sure you do it right to avoid long term problems. I will show you exactly what happens when you crack your joints, whether or not it is harmful, and the right way to do it so that you avoid any long term repercussions.
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You might have heard from someone in the past that cracking your joints is caused by air bubbles in the joint popping when crack them. As a matter of fact, there is a fluid that covers the joint and it is what is responsible for the cracking sensation and popping sound. What happens is that you are actually taking the joint through to its end range of motion and in the process you are creating air bubbles in the joint that pop instantly. So no; the presence of the air bubbles prior to the pop is not accurate.
The popping sound when you crack the joint is actually as audible gratification that you have reached said end of range of motion. Again, getting to this end range of motion is what provides relief for what feels like a stiff joint, not the cracking itself.
What about the idea that cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis in the long term? Well, I will ease your mind here – it’s not likely. Instead, what you need to take heed of is the way you are cracking your knuckles. If you are contorting the joint and moving it through unnatural ranges of motion, this can lead to inflammation and laxity of the tendons and ligaments that surround the joint. Doing this over and over again can create instability in the joint which is definitely something we want to avoid for longterm joint health.
So how do we crack our joints safely?
Starting with the neck, you need to understand the two major ranges of motion outside of flexion and extension. Instead, focus on side bending and rotation of the neck and cervical spine. To crack your neck safely, you can start by grabbing the opposite side of your head and guiding your neck through a deep side bend. Try this to both sides and see if you crack the joint there too. If you are looking to go through rotation, simply drop your ear to your shoulder and on the same side, place your fist on your chin and push it up and to the opposite side. This rotation should provide some relief as you are getting to the end of the range of motion to provide any relief you were looking for in the first place.
Next we want to focus on the back, but first, the upper back / thoracic spine. This can be done by leaning backwards over the back of a chair. Place your hands on your the back of your neck with your elbows out in front and up high – then round your shoulders forward and lean back while sitting up tall as your shoulders come back too. As your upper back reaches over the chair, you will feel a popping sensation in your upper spine.
Prefer not to crack your back in a chair or the chair isn’t the right height? Get on the ground! Cross your knee over an extended leg, rotate by placing the same side elbow on the inside of the knee to push yourself through rotation. Sitting up tall will give you relief higher on your back.
To crack the lower back / lumbar spine, you will want to stay on the ground. Lay down on your back, grab one knee and bring it to your chest. With the opposite hand, grab the knee from the outside and pull it towards that side. As you rotate, there you should feel the cracking of the low back. Need to get your cracks lower down your low back? Simply drop the knee down a bit and do the same thing. Getting through to that end range of motion is what is going to provide that relief with the cracking sound simply being the audio cue that you’ve reached that point.
Remember, especially with the knuckles, you want to take joints through their proper ranges of motion. Doing otherwise, such as bending your knuckles sideways, will eventually lead to problems that were totally avoidable as long as you were doing it correctly in the first place. So, extension and flexion of the proximal joints as well as slight rotation will prove to be beneficial. If you are moving your fingers through unnatural ranges of motion, you are asking for problems in the long run. So, make sure you get this right to avoid any unwanted problems.
If you are looking for more videos on how to get joint relief and avoid stiffness throughout the body, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on YouTube via the link above. For a complete training system that puts these stretches and mobilization drills into place, head to athleanx.com using the link above and get your step-by-step training system today!