about a month ago i was cracking my knuckles (usually the only joints i crack) against my face, and i was surprised that it made my wrists crack! ever since then i've been manipulating them like that and they sing to me.
however, i feel like it's a bad obsession now, particularly with my left wrist. it will crack several times in just a few minutes if i bend it a certain way. the problem is, i think i'm over-cracking. it often hurts, a stinging deep pain. i know i should leave it alone but instead? i just make it crack more. it actually makes me shudder because the cracks are so loud and harsh. but i can't stop doing it! it's like a drug. i feel like i'm abusing my wrist though - should i be concerned about the pain?
I'm no expert, but pain is indication that you are hurting yourself. I also had pain from wrist cracking, and devised an alternate method. First I need to describe wrist anatomy as best I can for the purpose of hand placement. At the base of your palm just above the wrist joint (above=closer to fingers), extended down from the thumb and pinky there are two prominent bony protrusions. On the back of the hand, just below the wrist (below=towards elbow) there are also two prominent bony protrusions. Let's just say the wrist joint is mostly inbetween these. Even if I'm not 100% right, that's good enough for what I'm about to explain…
So one method is to hold your left wrist (palm down) inbetween these bones with your right index-finger on the palm-side and thumb on the back side, and create an expansion of the joint from the compression pressure of your right hand. Then you only need to bend your left wrist forward and backwards a tiny amount - maybe 20 degrees forward and back to get a pop. Work it... don't expect it to crack the first time.
It may help to put the right index finger directly on the palm-side bony protrusion that extends down from the pinky (just above the wrist). Similarly, you might put the right thumb directly on bony protrusion on the back of your wrist below your left thumb (just below the wrist). In this manner, you may be twisting your ulna and radius, and by resisting this twist with your left hand, you can also achieve a pop. Experiment.
Another alternative is to do just as I said above... with the compression... and work the wrist forward and back with like a massaging action... to loosen up the wrist. Then crack your wrist as normal with hyperextension, but it will crack easier because you've loosened it up first.
Or use a combination of the two techniques, but never hyperextending too much, working the joint until it pops easily without too much hyperextension. The key is to loosen the wrist until it pops easily.
I do similar things with other joints. Rather than forcing a pop on the first try, I work the joints to loosen them up so I can crack without hyperextending them as much.