I’m sure a place like this is bombarded with questions about whether popping knuckles, cracking joints, or popping crackjoints is good for you or why it happens. These things do not interest me. What I want to know is why people (including myself) like to do it?
Motivations for bodily behavior are generally either pleasure-based or compulsions. I don’t think cracking my neck or popping my knuckles (I’m a near expert at popping every joint where it is possible) actually feels good, it just… feels. Surely there aren’t nerve endings in your synovial fluid, so it couldn’t feel good or bad to do it.
I think if you asked a bunch of people, the most common response would be that it loosens the joint or increases flexibility, but I’m unsure that this is a true motivation and not a side-effect. It’s perfectly possible that I crack my joints for compulsive reasons, or just to have something to do.
Another possibility is that the popping sensation sends a “whoa-boy” signal to your brain to alert you to something unexpected happening, and we get addicted to that response.
I realize just now that whatever it is that makes me want to pop joints, I don’t get any kind of satisfaction when I pop the joints in my metacarpal region (spinning my wrists around).