Cracking and snapping noises in the body are common. These noises can be alarming but are often due to treatable conditions.
Muscle snapping is one of the common causes of noises in the body with movement. Muscles cover and cross many structures including bones, joints, and other muscles. These muscles can become tight to the point where they make a snapping or crackling noise as they cross other structures with body movement. While this is not as alarming as a tear, it is important to take not of the problem and address it.
Excessively tight muscles that produce snapping are under a lot of tension. This tension stresses the muscle fibers throughout, including where the muscle connects to the bone, and can contribute to future injuries and tears. These tight muscles can be uncomfortable or painful, but are not always.
Muscle snapping often occurs at the tendon where pressure and tension is focused, rather than the larger muscle belly. Repetitive snapping of the muscles can lead to muscle sensitivity and pain. Common locations include the shoulder blade, shoulder, and hips.
Muscle tightness and muscle snapping can develop over years with chronically tight muscles. Chronically tight muscles can develop adhesions limiting their ability to lengthen when in the relaxed state, contributing to muscle snapping.
With enough irritation, bursa that protect muscles can become painful, inflamed, and swell. Bursa produce cushion the muscles and produce fluid that allows the muscles to move and slide freely.
Muscle tightness and resulting snapping is very common after auto accidents. Muscles tighten after an auto accident both due to direct injury to the muscle and to protect joints that are injured and weakened in an auto accident. However, excess muscle tightness can complicate healing and further injure the tight muscles. Recovery from auto collisions can take quite a while, often lasting months. Muscles can remain active throughout the recovery period to stabilize and support the joints.
Stretches and exercises can help to reduce muscle tightness and thus decrease snapping and related muscle irritation. Changes in posture can help to relieve tension on tight and exhausted muscles. Your Chiropractor will be able to instruct you in stretches and exercises as well as provide treatment for tightness and injuries that lead to muscle snapping. Your Chiropractor will be able to identify and differentiate muscle snapping from other causes such as tears. Contact your Chiropractor if you are experiencing muscle snapping or have been injured in an auto accident.