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  • Writer's pictureDr. Rory Dopps

Have You Ever Tried to Relieve Neck Pain by Cracking Your Own Neck?

An ergonomic office setup with proper monitor height and supportive chair, emphasizing the importance of good posture for neck health.
A chiropractor adjusting a patient's neck using professional techniques, ensuring safe and effective relief from neck pain.

Many people have tried to alleviate neck pain by cracking their own necks, seeking that immediate sensation of relief. However, self-adjusting your neck carries significant risks that can lead to long-term damage and chronic pain. This article aims to educate readers on the dangers of self-adjusting their necks and the importance of seeking professional care.

Understanding Self-Adjustment

Self-adjustment involves manipulating your own joints to create a popping sound, often done by twisting or bending the neck forcefully. People resort to self-adjustment for various reasons, including poor posture, stress, and muscle tension, which can cause neck discomfort. The immediate sensation of relief is often due to the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, providing a temporary sense of well-being.

The Mechanics of Neck Popping

When a joint pops, it involves the role of synovial fluid and gas bubbles within the joint capsule. The process is similar to pulling apart two hot stone massage rocks with oil between them, where the separation creates a popping sound. This is known as cavitation, where the bony endplates of the joints separate, allowing gas to fill the void space.

Popping the neck triggers the release of endorphins, offering temporary relief and a sense of well-being. However, this does not address the underlying issues causing the discomfort. The temporary nature of this relief can mask more serious problems, leading individuals to repeatedly self-adjust without realizing the potential risks.

Potential Risks of Self-Adjusting the Neck

Injury Risks

Self-adjusting the neck can cause immediate dangers such as straining or tearing muscles and ligaments. One of the most severe risks is vertebral artery dissection, which can lead to a stroke. This occurs when the lining of the vertebral artery tears, causing blood to enter the arterial wall and form a clot, which can block blood flow to the brain.

Long-term Effects

Repeated self-adjustment can lead to hypermobility or chronic instability in the cervical spine. Over time, this can increase the risk of osteoarthritis due to repeated improper adjustments. Hypermobility can cause the joints to move beyond their normal range of motion, leading to chronic pain and instability.

Nerve Damage

Improper self-adjustment can also result in nerve compression or damage. Symptoms of nerve damage include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arms and hands. These symptoms can significantly impact daily activities and overall quality of life.

Professional Chiropractic Adjustments vs. Self-Adjustment

Expertise and Training

Professional chiropractors undergo extensive training to safely and effectively adjust the neck. They use specific techniques and diagnostic tools to identify the root cause of neck pain. Unlike self-adjustment, chiropractic adjustments are tailored to the individual's needs, ensuring proper alignment and stabilization of the cervical spine.

Benefits of Professional Adjustments

Chiropractic adjustments provide long-term relief and improve joint health. Chiropractors take a holistic approach, including lifestyle and ergonomic advice to prevent future issues. Proper alignment and stabilization of the cervical spine can alleviate pain, improve mobility, and enhance overall health.

Safe Alternatives to Self-Adjustment

Ergonomic Improvements

Improving ergonomics in daily life can reduce the need for self-adjustment. Setting up a workstation with proper monitor height and chair support can minimize neck strain. Using supportive pillows and mattresses also helps maintain proper neck alignment during sleep.

Stretching and Exercise

Safe stretching and strengthening exercises can relieve tension and improve posture.

Specific exercises targeting the neck muscles can enhance flexibility and reduce discomfort. Regular physical activity is crucial for overall spine health and preventing neck pain.

Regular Chiropractic Care

Regular check-ups with a chiropractor can prevent neck pain and improve mobility. Many patients who switched from self-adjustment to professional care report significant improvements in their symptoms and overall quality of life.


Self-adjusting your neck might provide temporary relief, but it carries significant risks that can lead to long-term damage and chronic pain. Seeking professional chiropractic care is essential for maintaining neck health and preventing serious issues. If you are experiencing neck pain or discomfort, don't risk self-adjusting. Visit to schedule an online consultation with Dr. Rory Dopps and ensure your neck is properly cared for by a professional. Proper neck care is crucial for overall health and well-being.

For additional support, consider using an adjustable neck brace, available on Amazon, which provides relief for neck pain without the risks associated with self-adjustment. Additionally, Designs for Health's Inflammatone™ helps reduce inflammation and promote healing in joints, making it an ideal supplement for those experiencing neck pain.

Are you experiencing frequent joint popping and discomfort? Don’t self-adjust – seek professional help! Visit to schedule an online consultation with Dr. Rory Dopps and ensure your joints are aligned and healthy.


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