What Causes the “Pop”?

When you crack your knuckles, what causes that popping sound? When you apply traction to your joint, the motion pulls gas bubbles temporarily into the fluid in the joint. The “pop” is just a quick change in joint pressure and sudden gas exchange.

Is Popping My Knuckles Bad for Me?

According to our staff chiropractor, Dr. Nikolay Chernukhin (or Dr. Nik), if you painlessly pop your own knuckles on rare occasion, it’s most likely okay although not advisable. If you can’t help but crack your fingers daily, you may pay for it in the long run. The soft tissue structures surrounding your finger joints are also being stretched and over time this leads to tissues being hyper flexible. Soft tissues around our joints provide stability and hyper flexible tissue is less likely to support your joints in the way they should be. Compounded over time, arthritis can form as a result of this tissue distress.

What About Cracking My Neck or Back?

Oftentimes surrounding structures to what is easily self-adjusted in your neck or back is what needs to be put back in alignment. Temporary relief may be given, yet the self-adjustment may be performed in the wrong direction. Appropriate adjustment needs professional finesse, not the forceful attempts of you or your friend.


  • The sound you hear when you pop your knuckles is caused by a change in the pressure inside your joint.
  • Occasionally popping your knuckles is okay, however repeated daily pops may cause problems later in life.
  • Cracking your own neck or back is not advisable and best left to chiropractors.

Our staff chiropractors would love to talk with you about any concerns you have regarding joint pain and whether adjustments may help. Please call us to schedule a free consult if you are a new to the clinic.