We’ve all done it. We feel a weird pressure or discomfort in our neck so we decide to force it to make a “crack” or “pop” sound by moving our neck to one side or the other. This may feel good, even giving some relief to the discomfort, but the relief is often short lived, lasting an hour or a day at best. Dr. Wright, a chiropractor at, explains why this is actually worsening the issue and causing more problems.

First, he explains why we are feeling the need to “crack” our necks in the first place. He explains that the spine is 24 bones stacked on top of one another, and if one is off-base and not fully in its proper position, it causes the others to rearrange to balance the spine. Now that the others have moved to a different position to accommodate the one bone that is misaligned, it causes the joints of the others to stretch and feel uncomfortable.

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This give the sensation that the joints need to “pop”. The problem is that when you “pop” your own joints in your neck, you are “popping” the ones that are accommodating the misaligned bone, and the misaligned bone stays jammed out of place. When you pop your neck, you are causing excessive shearing of the joints, leading to early onset arthritis.

The correction is simple, but you need to correct the bone that is causing the problem. Once it is corrected the sensation of needing to popping your neck will fade away.