Yet another newbie here…
Well, I may have some insight into what you describe. Then again, I am not trained in any sort of medical field, so all I can give is my uninformed opinions – which are based on these years of experience and conjecture regarding my own body's changing circumstances.
"As for posture, hmm. Obviously I'm only 19 so still generally fit and healthy. I tend to bend my neck downwards slightly, but not enough that I would call it slouching."
I also did not think I had especially bad posture. In fact, I think it has been reasonably good, all my life. But this situation has me improving on it anyway, whether I want to or not, or whether or not I think I need it.
If a person does yoga (which I do strongly recommend), he or she will tend to really notice structural changes, since one can then do poses which were not possible previously -- such as, for me now, sitting on the floor without back-support (i.e., not against a wall or anything) with head, neck, and back in a straight line, and with legs outstretched straight forward... holding that pose for almost any length of time I might want, with no discomfort. I could not have done that at your age, or later until now. Therefore, I evidently have not had the sort of posture earlier which I can now achieve. You might see how you do trying that sitting pose.
"I try to do the opposite and stand up straight, but this just puts more pressure on my neck to click, which is horrible. The joint cracking itself has changed, yes." "... it has been much louder and happens much more automatically."
I have a theory about the cracking. Basically, cracking must mean that one joint (or set of joints) is stiff, while the set above it is loose. The cracking happens when the loose ones interact with the stiff ones. It seems to be part of the body's attempt to loosen up the stiff ones. In general, loose is better than stiff -- although, I have heard that one can get overly flexible, causing problems. Cracking may lead to that, if one does not also stretch instead of cracking.
How does a person stretch instead of cracking? Follow the pain to where the stretch needs to occur. Apply pressure (in my case, usually, by bending backwards a bit), but not so much pressure as to cause the joint to crack. Hold it, into the pain.
And that assumes that you have pain associated with your situation. If not, again, then yours may differ from mine in cause and/or in how to solve it.
In my case there is a pain associated with the cracking. The pain tells me where to exert a little pressure so as to crack. Sometimes very effective cracks happen which seem to me to indicate a loosening up of a stiff area -- essentially the same as what a chiropractor attempts. But, lately, I am often finding ways to stretch instead of cracking.
I find that stretching brings about progress. It has lead to more and more changes, and 'deeper' cracks, along with clear adjustments of the joints, further down in the back. The joints can sometimes seem to slip into a better relationship to each other. I think the cracking sound continues to come mostly from the base of the neck, in my case. But the action it is addressing, the helpful stretching and loosening, can take place lower in the back.
"And also, just as I bent forward to click the reply button, I felt a sort of spasm in my lower back, I have had a lot of these lately, do you ever get them?"
I have had quite a few different sorts of spasms to deal with. In general, they are getting better over time. I have a theory about that too.
"And please tell me about the health benefits you mention?"
Since this is already a long post, I think I will save that topic for the next interchange, assuming you write back in, in reply to this post.
Brian that was a very interesting reply.
You talk about stretching to "improve" things, by improve do you mean
a) making joints crack more or
b) making joints crack less.
Because as you can probably tell my aim is to get rid of the cracks completely!
I would love to make the joints in my neck "slip into relationship" more, and as you rightly say its basically a free way of doing what a chiropractor does. (I find them to be money making machines, and I cannot afford them and I would rather try myself first anyway).
So, for my neck which clicks, can you be specific about the stretches I should do?
It generally seems to be in the back right side of my neck. So when it feels it needs to click, how should I stretch?
Many thanks, and I would be interested to hear about your spasms.
OK, dj, I will provide a few more answers, as time permits.
"You talk about stretching to "improve" things, by improve do you mean
a) making joints crack more or
b) making joints crack less.
Because as you can probably tell my aim is to get rid of the cracks completely!"
I too am not happy about cracking all the time. The situation is sort of absurd, and painful too. Also, unfortunately, people tend to notice it no matter how I try to keep it under wraps. Some may think I am some sort of spastic – and maybe I am. Until it stops, I can't deny their theory any more than they can deny mine. But my theory has some facts to back it up; see below.
My theory, and philosophy here, is that this is basically a good thing going on, with the body somehow self-programmed now to straighten out the spine in this noisy, continuous, time-consuming, and often painful way. I hope, first off, that this is true of me, and then, if it is, that it is also true of you. It will mean that at some point we will not only be free of cracking, but that we will have an improved body due to it.
"So, for my neck which clicks, can you be specific about the stretches I should do?
It generally seems to be in the back right side of my neck. So when it feels it needs to click, how should I stretch?"
My answer will be true for me, in my opinion at least. I do not know if you and I have the same condition. So do please evaluate what I say to see if it really does match what you are experiencing.
The click as you call it, which I generally call a crack due to the loud sound of it, indicates a motion of one part against the lack of motion of the other part. See what I mean? It is the same idea I said in the last message.
So the hope is to get the rigid part also moving.
Some cracks are 'productvie,' as I said. That means the crack is a needed adjustment. But most cracks are not that way, alas.
Cracking most often represents taking the thing too far, having it slip out of control, with the one part slipping past the other without loosening the more rigid one up. So one takes the pressure up to just before cracking.
I do hope this makes sense to you. In my case, I can hone in on the exact spot to exert pressure on, by the (somewhat OK-feeling) pain of it -- similar maybe to the pain, long ago, of a baby tooth coming loose, or the pain of finally moving an arm which has been in a cast for a half-year. Both are pain, yes, but both feel like pain that heralds a healing process, "good" pain as it were.
"Many thanks, and I would be interested to hear about your spasms."
I have had several sorts of spasm, as I said before. I will list them:
1. Restless leg syndrome, especially at night (wrecking sleep for long poeriods), though not only at night.
2. Foot cramps, sometimes escalating to full leg cramps. These have come on very suddenly and are always most unpleasant. They can, again, wreck sleep. They can happen at any time.
3. Gastric acid reflux, a.k.a., "heart-burn," again happening at any time.
4. Repetitive stress injuries to the arms, leading to numbness, pain, and twitching of the arms, especially the hands and the upper arms.
5. An odd several weeks' period of very high blood pressure.
6. Frank episodes of whole-body twitching, resembling a very mild epileptic fit, although I would always retain full consciousness.
Get the idea?
All of these have either totally gone, or have very nearly abated. Some, such as the high blood pressure and gastric acid reflux, are simply not happening at all any more. They are distant memories now.
Here is my theory about it all. There has been some sort of spinal issue going on, a cramping of the spine due to bad posture, which has blocked or altered nerve conduction to some extent, from the spinal chord (cord?). By cracking, and by the subsequent need to straighten myself up continually so as to 'get at' the place that needs to crack, I have gradually unblocked this nerve conduction in its several places. Or so it appears to me. I attribute it to cracking, since by cracking I actually brought on each of those symptoms, so as to 'crack through it.' This is factual.
Meanwhile, I sought medical treatment for each of those conditions, and had my physicians most worried too, at all those symptoms. I do not now take any medicines for any of those conditions, for the simple reason that I do not need any. So, I do not really care whether or not medical science agrees with my theories. All I can do is notice that my theories make sense, given what is actually happening, whereas no one else's theories have helped much, or made sense.
OK, now back to you. I notice you made no reply about doing yoga. I think it will help. Have you ever tried it? I suspect that yoga has made me able to manage this. Who knows what would have happened without it. That, and aerobic exercise too. I recommend both.
Thanks for the reply.
I am probably stereotyping, but whenever I think of yoga, I think of old ladies, not 19 year old young guys like myself!
However I am at university and a member of the gym, so I will check to see if they do any yoga classes.
As for aerobic exercise, do you just mean stuff like going on the running machines? If so, I will definitely try doing that next month when I return to university.
Back to the problem we both have at the base of the neck. Do you feel there is more pressure on one side of your neck than the other? Because as I said for me it is just a real strangeness on the right side of my neck.
I have wanted an X-ray for ages, but the NHS have denied me one because there is no good reason for one. And i cannot afford to go private.
"I am probably stereotyping, but whenever I think of yoga, I think of old ladies, not 19 year old young guys like myself!"
I started doing yoga at age 18. Back then, no old ladies did it. Times change.
"However I am at university and a member of the gym, so I will check to see if they do any yoga classes."
If they do not, there are plenty of good DVDs available to learn from, and work out with.
"As for aerobic exercise, do you just mean stuff like going on the running machines? If so, I will definitely try doing that next month when I return to university."
The word 'aerobic' refers to any exercise that gets the heart-rate up – and the breathing too, thus the prefix 'aer' which could be written 'air' based on the sound of it, and the meaning. You probably know that.
So, yes, running machines do the job very well. Running itself of course also does it, or swimming, and/or so many other similar activities.
"Back to the problem we both have at the base of the neck. Do you feel there is more pressure on one side of your neck than the other?"
Yes, this is true in my case too. Mine happens to be more on the left side. But the deeper issue is central on the spine, I find. Cracking becomes more 'effective' the more central it goes, or so it seems to me. And, again, by 'effective,' I mean, leading somewhere; loosening up the rigid area so that, one day, no more cracking will be required. Thus, last night for example, my very long cracking session started on the left but gradually got more central, as I managed to loosen the rigid area better.
"I have wanted an X-ray for ages, but the NHS have denied me one because there is no good reason for one. And i cannot afford to go private."
An X-ray would probably be a good idea. I agree with that. Then again, whatever it said might not alter what you have to do, and go through -- unless you are thinking surgery might help.
Anyway, good luck to you! I hope we both succeed in this.
Thanks Brian it has been good to meet you.
Keep checking this forum periodically if you can, because I may come up with more questions/issues!
OK, I will do that. Good luck to you.
Hello people of JointCrackers.com I am new to this forum and I dont know if I am posting correctly but I am 35 years of age and i have to "Popping" my joint for about 25 years give or take. It started off as just a so-called fun new trick i discovered when i was a kid. I always thought that i was just double joint and it was really neat that i could do it. I would show it off to friends and family and get a big laugh for attention. It started with my toes(big toe) then fingers, shoulders and back as always with most people. then other limbs and joint started popping on their own at first (and the first time is VERY PAINFUL) but then i thought it felt good just to "relieve pressure so i thought. it got to the point to where i had to pop my joints or i was in utter pain it i didnt so i gave in and as years past it got harder and harder to pop tings like i did the first time. I i got into extremes (litterally). It go to the point to where i physically abused my joint think it better. now all i do is bend my neck to the side and it pops on its own along with my back and knee. most likely if there is a joint somewhere in my body i have popped it over 100 time in my life (easily). every once in a while if i stretch i can feel my sternum pop which im used to now but my wrist is inflammed and both my shoulders and my right elbow pops all day long everyday (without fail) by them selves and they feel like digging in my joints with a dull rusty spoon (oooouuuch). In general I feel like i am past able to be helped and a warning to all like those who tried to warn me joint popping is ok to a certain extend but too much of anything is hurtful(VERY)just dont do it so much . i already want to donate my right wrist to science for cybornetic studies…..i just need someone like me to talk to so i wont feel alone