Some of us crack neck joints as we feel a certain tightness enveloping our necks. This feeling is particularly strong as we get about doing tasks that require us to hold our neck in one position. For example, you could be driving your car or truck on an interstate trip and typically you would feel the tension building up in your neck muscles after a few hours on the road. This would create a desire in you to take a rest stop and then crack neck joints for relaxing the neck.
This practice is extremely harmful and can cause the muscles that are present in between the neck vertebrae to become more stressed. I think an explanation is in order before you are convinced to discontinue the urge to crack neck joints.
When you manipulate your neck to crack neck joints, the ligaments that are present in these joints get stretched and this in turn will place further strain on your neck muscle groups. This is because they would have to work harder to control the movements of your neck. Now the knotty feeling in your neck muscles will come in shorter intervals as your muscles are taxed. The situation gets progressively bad and increases the risk of lessening the stability of the neck. Yes, it is a fact that when you crack neck joints you are in fact putting yourself at a health risk of having unstable neck joints.
The best suggestion that I can give you if you have just begun giving in to the impulse to crack neck joints is that you discontinue the habit immediately. Let your friends know that you are trying to stop this habit and ask them to stop you if they see you begin to twist your neck with the intention of cracking the neck joints.
If you are interested in dropping the habit of cracking neck joints, I suggest that you visit a physiotherapist. She will advise you on the specific exercise routines that you would have to follow to stabilize your neck muscles. Once the muscles are stronger, you can consult your general practitioner for bringing back the ligaments into proper shape.
You may have to consult a medical specialist if your neck cracks every time you move it. This may be the ultimate warning that the neck joints are giving out to indicate that something is wrong with them. In such cases, you would need specialist care to reconstruct the ligaments to bring your neck joints back into proper working order.