Do you sometimes feel like a Rice Krispy treat when you get out of bed? All those snaps, crackles, and pops can make you feel old, like your body is breaking apart. This phenomenon can happen to anyone, though, young or old. What’s happening when your joints crack and pop? Here’s what’s going on in your body:
1. Ever been called an airhead?
The most common cause behind joint noises (called “crepitus”) is air. That’s right, something as simple as air bubbles in the spaces between your joints can cause those awful sounds. The air bubbles are usually made up of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. They’re nothing to worry about and will continue to happen, particularly if you have hypermobility of the joints.
2. Blame your anatomy.
Aside from air bubbles, you can also hear a cracking or popping noise when interior parts of your body rub together. This can happen when a tendon moves over a part of bone that sticks out and then is snapped back where it belongs. It sounds painful, but you’ve probably experienced this many times with no pain. It’s simply your body doing its job, albeit noisily.
3. Don’t worry, you won’t get arthritis.
Many people are afraid that if they’re joints are popping, that means they’re more likely to get arthritis. Years of study have proven this to be unfounded. In fact, one researcher popped his knuckles for 60 years, and there was no sign of arthritis at the end of those years. However, if you have any pain when your joints pop or you find that it limits your mobility, there could be something else going on and you should let your doctor know.