There are two types of people in this world: the type that loves the sound of cracking joints – you know who you are! – and the type that HATES it. While we aren’t ashamed to say that we don’t mind hearing a few pops during a deep back stretch, it turns out the satisfying sound can be a potential red flag.
You see, this “cracking” noise is actually called “crepitus”, and it describes all types of crunching, grating, or popping noises in the joints. This includes cracking sensations that can only be felt, as well as pops so loud they disturb an entire yoga class!
While crepitus can feel pretty creepy, most of the time it is caused by harmless air bubbles that get trapped inside the joint. When you put pressure on the area—whether on purpose or by accident—the air bubbles release and make noise.
What crepitus could mean for you
If no pain is associated with the creaking noise, then you are generally considered to be in the clear. No matter what your mother might have told you when you were growing up, this sound is natural and is generally considered to be benign.
Now, if you have considerable pain associated with your crepitus, then that is a bit of a different story. The sound could be a sign of arthritis, namely osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, two conditions that can wreak havoc on even the strongest of bodies.
Patients suffering from arthritis experience joint cartilage degeneration, something that is, unfortunately, incurable and can greatly affect a person’s range of motion.
Arthritis-health recommends that folks who are experiencing pain or simply feel that certain joints have been cracking too much or too long, visit a medical professional as soon as possible. While osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are, in fact, chronic conditions, most cases can be helped with medication or physical therapy.
How arthritis patients find relief
If your crepitus has been linked to arthritis, don’t get down—there are plenty of at-home treatment options that can help ease your pain.
To alleviate achy joints, take advantage of our favorite all-powerful cure-all, apple cider vinegar. This ingredient has been used for centuries and can be both ingested and applied topically to inflamed spots.
In addition to the vinegar, you can also focus on performing “arthritis-friendly” exercises to help strengthen the muscles that surround your aching joints. As always, be sure to consult your trusted doc before you make any changes to your diet or exercise routines.
Who knew the sound of cracking joints could mean that your body is experiencing something serious? To learn even more about this phenomenon, be sure to watch the video below. It may just be time for you to check in with your doctor!
Now that you know how this normal bodily sound could mean trouble in the future, we want to hear from you! Do your joints crack when you stretch? Have you told your doctor about this? If so, what did he/she say?