Since I began practicing yoga I’ve had an issue with my left shoulder, (a snap crackle pop shoulder) for what has seemed like the entire time. It makes a cracking noise as I straighten it to enter downward facing dog on my yoga mat.
I have Dr. Google’d the heck out of this problem and I’m still coming up short. I’ve found a variety of forums and videos explaining proper form in this move, but nothing specific to a popping or cracking shoulder.
Snap Crackle Pop Shoulder
Shoulder Making Noise
The only “prevention” I have found is that if I enter downward facing dog much slower the popping sometimes does not happen. I have tried so hard to do this, but it’s often challenging, especially in the fast-paced vinyasa style classes I enjoy most.
Further, over the years I’ve found a number of websites that discuss joint popping noises, most of which say that a joint cracking noise is fine, so long as there is no pain. I’m not in any pain when this happens, but the constant cracking started to cause me a bit of anxiety.
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I didn’t want to wake up in 20 years and not be able to do yoga because I tore my body up during my youth. All I hear older folk complain about is their aches and pains. That sure sounds like a lot to look forward too, huh?
Shoulder replacements and torn rotator cuffs are real. I’d like to keep the parts I was born with — and keep them healthy. This yoga shoulder pain became noticeable for me in 2012.
Shoulder Bones and Muscles
Shoulder and Yoga
I am also one of many who read the The New York Times magazine article “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.” I also listened to the report “The Risks and Rewards of Practicing Yoga” on NPR featuring the same author, William Broad.
And to be honest, these report made me look at my yoga practice in a different light.
I was at a crossroads. I had been practicing yoga on my yoga mat two to three times a week now pretty much since the start of the year, when this happened. Maybe that’s a bit much. And I was starting to feel uncomfortable with all this shoulder popping.
It made me me cringe every time I head it.
Cracking Shoulder Yoga
As much as I wanted to continue my practice, I decided to step back a bit, and take a few days off from yoga. I also considered starting up some shoulder exercises again and see if that helps the area at all.
This also gave me an excuse to run more again. The human body is both amazing and frustrating at the same time.
Have you had this problem while doing yoga?
*This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated and republished for accuracy and comprehensiveness.