Stop Popping Your Own Neck in Portland

Stop Popping Your Own Neck in Portland

Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain in Portland OR

the science behind the negative effects of self-adjustments

As a Portland chiropractor, I am often asked a lot of questions and by far one of the most popular one is, “is it bad to pop your own neck?” and the answer? Yes… and no. When you’re stretching your neck or after being sedentary for a long period of time and get up to move your body, sometimes that will produce a popping sound. This isn’t bad or damaging,  however, the reasons below are why there is a strong emphasis to not purposely adjust your own neck.

This is the image to familiarize yourself with for today's blog:

Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain in Portland OR


Reason 1:

Your spinal cord is encased and protected by your vertebral column. Along this vertebral column, you have these little holes (called intervertebral foramina “IVF”) where the nerves branch off the spinal cord and exit the vertebral column to innervate everything in our bodies. The image above shows these nerves coming out of the IVF's.

The complications of popping your own neck can arise right here. If adjusting your neck is done improperly, with that twisting/pushing action to create the popping sound, it can cause some serious damage to those nerves leaving the spinal cord through these intervertebral formina by means of compression. I'm sure you've all heard of the term “pinched nerve”.


Reason 2:

Continuing from reason 1 leads us nicely into reason 2… Trying to adjust your own neck creates hypermobility in joints that are already moving perfectly fine. To explain this better, refer again to the image above and pick out any three vertebrae.

The joints of the top and the bottom vertebrae are not the joints causing pain in your neck. The issue lies with the joints of that middle vertebra. These joints from the middle vertebra are often the ones that are restricted and not moving properly compared to the joints above and below and it is typically here where your neck pain is stemming from. When you continuously pop your neck to find relief from neck pain, you’re not fixing the restricted joint, you’re affecting the ones around it and creating hypermobility of the top and bottom joints. There is temporary relief, but the problem joint is still restricted.
Once you create hypermobility in joints that were once moving properly and not the source of your pain, it starts a cascading effect of problems and the start of a condition called “perpetual instability”. The ligaments that surround the joints are permanently stretched and will cause not only pain, but other symptoms due to the joints becoming more and more hypermobile and unstable. We'll talk about cervical instability in another blog soon.


Leave it to the professionals

Chiropractic doctors (DC's) and osteopathic doctors (DO’s) are the only medical professionals that should be adjusting your neck. As a chiropractor, I spent several years in school studying and learning about the spine to find these restricted joints. Through physical examination, both chiropractors and DO’s, learn to safely and effectively deliver specific and gentle adjustments to restricted joints.

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North Portland Wellness Group

2205 North Lombard Street #101
Portland, OR 97217
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