Snap. Crackle. What Was THAT?
A Disclaimer: It is wholly beyond irresponsible to be a person in the USA, in a position of power, a "leader" in the free world, with a microphone to spout from as an authority on exercise, to disparage and discourage health in the minds and body of the populace. There are real professionals who have dedicated their careers and their lives to inspire people toward health and well-being.
There are millions of Americans who have activated themselves to counter obesity, adult onset diabetes, depression, fatigue, poor nutrition, cardiovascular disease, sheer laziness and countless other unhealthy behaviors through exercise, fitness, sports, dance and movement.
Countless perks are found in a regular fitness program: your heart
pumping, breathing fresh clean air, drinking fresh clean water, moving with the feeling of strength and support in your own muscles and bones, harnessing your mind to achieve something
difficult, burning calories, shaping up into a happier some body, and building friendships and esteem. Our bodies need to move. Our bodies are designed to move, really move and feel good, really good. Thing is we have this mind. And the two need to be synced up to play, to enjoy exercise, movement, fitness. It takes access and healthy motivation. You got to sweat it out sometimes. Other times, it's a walk through the park. Movement is life. Just keep moving.
While movement is natural for our bodies, the concrete jungle, indoor air, long flights, sedentary desk jobs, fried food sugary diets are not so. Usually a top priority for adults is a good paying job, taking care of their family, good education and vacation. Fortunately for Americans, work days leave time to get up, move and exercise. But sometimes it gets pushed further and further down on the importance scale. Meanwhile the body weight can scale up. Exercise and movement hopefully will never land on a "to do" list. But it might.
So the mind and body get out of sync. The body's natural request for exercise gets stuffed down with cheetos and coke. After even a week out of sync, movement and exercise won't feel natural. Over a longer period of time, laziness sets in. Then there's no play in movement. When the play is gone, two things can happen. (Actually more than two things can happen, an infinite number of things can happen, but won't be mentioned here.) Those two things are: one, it hurts to move, and two, you can get hurt when you move. It hurts to move because the natural request of the body to move has been denied, stuffed down, overrun. And, you can get hurt when you jump off the couch or out of the chair for the same reason. Functionally, you're out of touch.
That's why there are so many pro-fitness trainers, dance teachers, sports instructors, Pilates, Gyrotonic, Yoga, Martial Arts teachers and classes to guide and instruct exercise and movement. It is an investment in your health, well-being and longevity to learn how to move well, train well and exercise. It feels good to learn. Its enjoyable.
What Was THAT?
Then there's the sound imbalance begins to make. The creaking, cracking, snapping, clunking, popping, sounds you might hear when you move, is a diagnostic language of sorts. Not understanding what it means and sometimes understanding what it means, denial is the first tool out of the box. The problem is that denial is a short term tool at best. It's good to know when it's time to take proactive inquiry. It's vital to know when denial is ruining your game.
This topic is reminiscent of The Tappet Bros., Click and Clack, the entertaining radio show hosts of "Car Talk". People would call in to ask about the noise(s) coming from their cars. One brother would ask, "What kind of noise is it?" The caller would mimic all the various sounds. And the Tappet brothers would discuss the sounds with great fun, knowing precisely what each sound referred to in their diagnosis of the automobile. Their shows were always kind, helpful, knowledgeable and comedic.
Though the human body isn't a car, the vehicle metaphor is convenient way to understand its complexity. But keep in mind the body is a curious mystery, organic, highly complex and biased, practically a giant water bubble, with, at times, a "mad monkey" mind, shaped by gravitational forces and dependent upon this earth.
To know for yourself if the sounds you hear in your joints have some meaning, think of this. How does your car sound? Exciting? Or does it sound like it's going to blow a gasket? Is there hissing where water in the radiator should be? Do you hear clunk, clunk, clunk, like there's a bolt or two loose or missing? Does it sound like metal on metal? Are you waiting longer, rolling dice to hear if your engine will turn over? If so, you better get to your mechanic.
For the human body, joints might go "pop" and tendons "crack" during warmup; then will quiet down. A warmup gives your muscles time to heat up and stretch so that tendon position over the joint is optimal. The warmup improves biomechanical alignment too, keeping wear and tear of the joint and tendons in check. The synovial joint fluid is viscous. So it needs to heat up to be more responsive. Cavitation is the technical word for the "pop" sound you hear. Generally not a cause for concern. Point is, don't skip on the warmup too often.
If the joint(s) continue to snap and it hurts, and there's pain after, and you've denied it happened, and it still hurts, set yourself up for success. Check in with your orthopedic doctor. Get pointed in the right direction. If you're young or old, go right away. Most likely R.I.C.E. will be the remedy. Additional instruction on biomechanics, balancing right to left muscles, joint strengthening which is different than a muscle builder physique-technique. It's practical. You'll be good to go and happy in the long run.
If even after warmup, the joint(s) snap each time you repeat a movement, it implies a weakness surrounding the joint. This is due either to improper biomechanics and/or to a shortened, usually weakened, muscle crossing the joint complex. It's important to address that by working with a professional for a bit. Especially if you desire to reduce the wear and tear of the tendons and the joint. Point here is, keep up the frequency of a cool down and stretch after your exercise.
Clunking sounds are never good. Clunking sounds and swelling, even without pain is no good. A clunk sound requires all of the above with a greater imperative. The clunk sound is the sound of deterioration. The articular surfaces in the joint are wearing down. Eventually, if ignored, the cushion ceases to exist. The joint becomes bone on bone. Once the clunking begins, hoping it would just go away is not the correct application of denial. It hasn't gone away, and it won't. Time to get real. A professional or two can give you a few scenarios of the next step in the right direction. If you listen well to their guidance, you can enjoy high level movement, exercise, sports, hopefully avoiding surgery. These days sportsmedicine brings in so much mind-body knowledge that even if surgery is required, recovery is dramatically improved. It's more expensive, requires more downtime though. However, the protocol for rehab is to get you moving again asap, with greater knowledge and balance. Point is, the mind and body can't be disconnected for too long.