Pop goes the weasel

Pop goes the weasel , I could probably play a song with the amount of sounds that my joints make during yoga. The “cracking” sound heard in the wrists, back, hips, neck, etc. is common . It is caused by the breaking of a vacuum in the synovial fluid (fluid surrounding a joint), when the joint is resetting itself.
Frequently, throughout the day and over a lifetime, we all develop small imbalances in muscle tension , be it across our backs, or a ligament or tendon. These soft tissue imbalances can pull on a joint , because soft tissues typically inserts near joints or cross them. This pulling creates a small “subluxation”, not exactly a dislocation, but a small , bone positioning issue of 2 bones next to each other. This causes tension , and joint fluid is produced, creating a vacuum. When the bone is repositioned , like while doing asana ,the vacuum seal will break, creating a “pop” sound .
Beware of 2 other sounds , clunks (which are felt) and crackles. If you hear or feel those , it is time to worry . Clunks are felt, more like a hard jolt;like when the bone repositions itself . This indicates a more severe subluxation or close dislocation. Most commonly found in the sacro-lumbar joint (particularly in women who have given birth) and shoulder joints, and especially in those who have had a previous dislocation .
Crackles, also known as “crepitus” in the medical world, are a sign of long-term, wear-and-tear of a joint. The crackling sound is believed to be caused by uneven cartilage surfaces rubbing against one another. Most commonly seen under the kneecap, although the shoulder does not fall far behind.
If there is no pain or instability of the joint , then there really is not much to worry about. Many people live full, active lives with noisy joints and pain-free. It’s a myth that these sounds could lead to arthritis . If it is bad, you should be in clear persistant and sharp pain, then see a specialist.
It is all part of the journey and hopefully one day , we may practice Yoga with effortless ease , no pops and with stillness. Yoga is helping me get to know my body and find what works for me. Listen to your body and practice safely always. Popping is normal and natural, unless accompanied by pain,you are alright !! Just be patient , listen to your body and keep practicing mindfulness in all things. Namaste yogis!!
March 2016 Yoga YTT 200Hrs (weekday)

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