This question is often asked of chiropractors because people associate the cracking or popping of one’s neck with a chiropractic adjustment. The two are not the same thing. If a person has a desire to pop his neck or back it’s usually because a part of his spine is fixated or jammed causing another part to move too much and pop a lot, sometimes by itself. It’s the jammed or fixated part that must be properly adjusted by a chiropractor so that the rest of the spinal column will stop being so moveable and noisy.
When you crack or pop your neck you’re relieving tension for a little while, but not giving yourself an adjustment. After a while the urge to pop or crack reappears because the cause of the spinal tension, the fixation or jammed vertebrae hasn’t been corrected. Old wives’ tales say popping cracking your joints causes arthritis or makes your knuckles get bigger. There isn’t any research supporting that, but, if tension keeps building up in the joints because of spinal imbalance it may not be the popping or cracking that’s so bad for you, but the spinal stress and imbalance causing it.