Crack your own neck safely?!

Please consult with a healthcare provider to see if this is something that is right for you. All information on this page is for informational purpose only. Please do not take it as medical advice.

Have you ever had a stiff, sore, achy neck and felt like you need to get to the chiropractors office but just don’t have the time? Well then you can try to mobilize your neck using a towel after consulting with your medical provider.

What is happening when a chiropractor cracks your neck?

When you go to the chiropractor for an adjustment what they do is they take your joint close to the end of its motion where a barrier is engaged. They then apply a very quick but small thrust through the joint. This helps the joint move and as an after effect this reduces pain and muscle tightness. The cracking sound is a release of gas from the joint. This release of gas from the joint, can be satisfying to some, but clinically has not been shown to be all that important. It’s the motion of the joint that is important not the releasing of the gas.

What can you do at home?

While a lot of people like to take their neck in their hands and quickly crank on it to get the popping/cracking sensation this probably is not the best thing to do. When you do this you risk potentially injuring the muscles of your neck. Instead it is much safer and likely more effective to use a towel to mobilize your neck.

Using a towel to mobilize your neck.

With this maneuver one may get a cracking sound, but one also may not. The cracking sound as we established is not all that important. What one wants to do is to take a towel and fold it up so that it comfortably fits around ones neck and in ones hands. One then put the towel around the back of their neck. They take the hand which they are going to rotate towards and grab the opposite side of the towel. Then they grab the other side of the towel with the other hand. One would rotate their head towards the direction they want to mobilize it in, and then take their hand on that same side and bring the towel across their cheek. With the other hand they would apply a downward pull on the towel. Once one rotates their neck they will feel a point where they can not actively move their neck any further. At this point they will then use the hand in the direction that they are going too gently and slowly move the joint a little bit further. This should not cause pain but should cause a stretching sensation. One would then let off some of the pressure and then do the same thing again. In an oscillatory manner. This would mobilize ones neck in a very similar manner to a chiropractor’s manipulation.