No need for diagnosis
No doubt there are a lot of joint poppers with other underlying issues eg hypermobility etc. Whether they are caused by joint cracking or are causing the joint cracking is another issue.
However I don't see the need for this part of the forum. Joint clicking is not a disease, or part of a disease. It is a habit. Just like sucking your thumb, or smoking. A good feeling leads to wanting it more and more.
There's your "diagnosis"!
K8kate, interesting discussion.
I agree there is a strong psychological link to joint cracking in the form of an obsessive compulsive disorder.
However, I strongly believe there are also physical aspects with joint cracking. As a long time joint cracker you cannot always quit joint cracking like you quit sucking your thumb or smoking. Of course I am very happy it worked for you like that!
I am very interested in those underlying issues you name. A few points to ponder about:
Some report their diet seems to have an influence on joint cracking desire.
Joint cracking seems to have a genetic component.
Joint cracking does do something seemingly irreversible to your liagments which foster joint cracking desire.
Joint cracking can seriously reduce your quality of life.
Smoking makes those that are addicted to it feel good. They enjoy the experience. Joint crackers with physical implications do not crack to feel good, they crack to not feel bad, to mobilize their joints, etc. They feel physical pain when not cracking. Because of the negative liagment-loop the more you crack, the more you want to crack. The pain only goes away for a little while, it comes back in quicker and quicker cycles the more you crack. The converse arguments holds: Exercise strengthening your muscles / tendons / liagments does help stabilize joints and thus reduce joint pressure pains.
Being submersed in warmth seems to reduce joint pressure.
Will power alone will only work on joints with the following properties:
- The joint must not crack on normal daily movements you cannot possibly prevent.
- The joint only cracks with a special "move" or "stretch" you can make yourself aware of.E.g. my "ankles" do not seem to fit into this pattern. Minimal, normal unconscious movements suffice, I am often surprised when they pop. Unless I put my feet in casts, it will be pretty much impossible to avoid these unintended "surprise" cracks. As long as the joint cracking related physical properties of my ankles are not treated, reversed or undone, I thus doubt I'll ever be able to minimize their cracking to a level where I'm not bothered by them.
All in all, does this sound like an ordinary "habit" in all cases? I think not. Hence this forum and sub-section.
Of course joint popping can be a simple habit, too. Most people can pick up knuckle cracking and more if they really want to and are bored or whatever. Not everyone needs to use the "advanced" sections.