Are creaking, cracking and popping joints normal?

When confronting body aches and pains, observation and the quest for understanding can greatly serve us as we age. This is true especially for our joints. Oftentimes, people in our Yoga for 50+ classes ask, “What is the cracking, crunching sound I hear when I move a joint?”

The answer is crepitus! Crepitation describes any grinding, creaking, cracking, grating, crunching, or popping that occurs when moving a joint. We can experience crepitus at any age, but it becomes more common as we get older. For example, crepitus in the knees is very common, as is crepitus in the hips, shoulders, neck and spine. These are also the joints frequently affected by Osteoarthritis.

Crepitus itself usually is not a cause for concern. In fact, most people’s joints crack or pop occasionally, which is considered normal. However, if frequent crepitus is accompanied by pain, swelling, or other concerning symptoms, it may be an indication of arthritis or another medical condition. In that case, speak with your doctor to gain clarity about your particular joint condition.

Should I move a joint with Osteoarthritis?

Another common question we hear is, “If I have Osteoarthritis and it hurts to move a joint, should I keep moving it or keep it still?”

Generally speaking, exercise and movement are important for treating Osteoarthritis. They boost circulation around the joint and strengthen its surrounding musculature. That being said, certain activities, such as weight-bearing and vigorous movement, can further aggravate the joint.

Determining which movements are right for you comes down to how you feel during and after. If you notice sharp pains while doing certain movements, take those as signs to explore a gentler approach. Similarly, if your discomfort increases after exercising, look for modifications to your routine.

“Just Joints” and a Chair Yoga Dance Visit to 92-yr old Jim with Sherry Zak Morris

Just Joints is a wonderful daily sequence to keep your joints strong and mobile. These movements get your joints moving in fun ways. Moving is like Oil to the Tin Man. Move what you can! Stay until the end when the Chair Yoga Dancers venture out into our community to visit sequestered seniors delivering Joy on Wheels! We shared “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” standing Chair Yoga Dance with 92-yr old Jim!

Do what feels right for you!

Bear in mind that simple movements within a smaller range of motion tend to exert less force on our joints. Also combining movements with smooth breathing can have a profound effect on the health of our joints and our general well-being. As an alternative, deep relaxation and breathing exercises provide tremendous relief. They give our system the energy it needs to move with greater freedom.

In Yoga, our motto is “no pain, no pain.” Since there is a lot of variation in Yoga styles, some movements may hurt more than they help. Therefore, based your specific situation, always do what feels right for you.

While painful, Osteoarthritis may cause you to be less active in general. But consider that motion is like lotion for your joints! Take a look at our Essential Program for Bones & Joints to find something that feels good to you!

Let’s keep moving!
Sherry

To watch a video related to this Topic, click on an image below:

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Sherry Zak Morris Joint Health

Joint Health for your 8 Load-Bearing Joints

Sherry Zak Morris Cardio Fun Time

It’s Cardio Fun Time! Lots of Moving!

Justine Shelton - Precious Joints

Gentle Yoga Therapy for your Precious Joints with Justine

Justine Shelton Sciatica 101

Chair Yoga Class for Osteoarthritis Relief with Justine

Viki Boyko Workout your Joints

Workout your joints with yarn skeins! with Viki

Sharon Cavanagh Flow with your Breath

Flow with your Breath as you do some Simple Movements with Sharon

Online Workshops related to this Topic:

Online Workshop: Gentle and Chair Yoga for Arthritis from Head to Toe

Arthritis is quite prevalent in the 50+ population. Unfortunately, no matter where Arthritis is located, it can be very debilitating and painful. This Workshop focuses primarily on Osteoarthritis with a brief discussion on Rheumatoid Arthritis. Starting from head to toe, Sherry Zak Morris, C-IAYT and E-RYT, will teach you about the common issues and symptoms of Arthritis. In addition, she provides Yoga pose modifications for anyone suffering from Arthritis.

Online Workshop: Gentle Yoga for Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis

More than 67 million people in the US have Osteoarthritis or Osteoporosis, and the number is growing. These conditions often come together and are called the twin perils of aging. In this Workshop, Justine Shelton, E-RYT500, C-IAYT, will teach you the causes, potential dangers, and structural anatomy and physiology related to these conditions. In addition, Justine will share modifications, contraindications, and use of props for adapting your Gentle Yoga classes.

CREDITS:  Author, Sherry Zak Morris, Certified Yoga Therapist

Co-Author, Susana Jones, Certified Yoga Therapist