I see lots of people at EC who have confessed to clicking their own necks for relief, for party tricks and most of the time just because they can. Just because you may be able to ‘click’ your neck, doesn’t necessarily mean you are achieving the correct outcome…What actually is the difference between clicking it yourself and a chiropractor doing it? The need to ‘click’ often highlights that there may be an underlying problem within the joint. The need to do it is down to poor posture and small, day to day repetitive exercises putting excess stress on the joints in the cervical (neck) spine. Because of these stresses on the spine, the joints become restricted and uncomfortable.
If it’s an on-going problem, it may get to the stage of a trapped nerve! When you click your own neck (self-adjust) you are mostly ‘clicking’ either, the joint above or below the restricted one that needs to move properly. Chiropractors undergo 5 years of training to learn to adjust the joints of your spine correctly (see below). When the joints have been adjusted correctly, not only does it relieve the pressure off the nerve, but it also reduces the need to self ‘click. ’What’s wrong with clicking my own neck?‘ The impact of self-adjusting is that you are adjusting the wrong joints. When you self-adjust it may create the same ‘popping’ noise (air being released from the joint) as a chiropractic adjustment, it may also provide you with some relief because adjustments create a natural release of pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins. However, be aware, it can cause DAMAGE. If a joint is restricted, the joints above and below work harder to compensate for the lack of movement in the affected joint. Subsequently, these joints are moving too much already and when you self-adjust you are forcing them to move even further. Over time, excess stretching of the ligaments that support the spine occurs, which leads to instability and future problems.
So what should I do if I always click my own neck? You potentially have an underlying problem and are causing damage to the ligaments of your spine. The first thing is to look at your posture to prevent unnecessary stress on your neck and shoulders. The next thing is to have a full examination with a Chiropractor to assess the movement and function of the individual joints of the spine. The chiropractor can recommend stretches, postural advice, and, if necessary, a course of chiropractic adjustments to restore correct function of the spine.