What Happens When You Crack Your Back?
By Sara Butler
Chances are you know someone who frequently cracks their own back – or maybe you’re guilty of it yourself. Many people who experience back pain do get temporary relief from cracking their back, but it’s not a long-term solution for pain. Here’s what really happens when you crack your own back and why you should avoid it.
Does it Really Bring Relief?
Many people feel as if they want to crack their back because they feel stiff or tight, and cracking it appears to provide some relief for some of that stiffness and tension. But it’s just a temporary fix. The bigger picture here is that the symptoms you’re experiencing that make you want to crack your own back are not normal. Your back should not feel tight or stiff on a regular basis. A healthy back should always feel comfortable and loose. That’s why feeling as if you need to frequently crack your own back should be taken as a warning sign that not all is well on the spinal front.
Dangers of Self Back Cracking
It’s also important to understand that cracking a back can be dangerous, especially if you regularly attempt to crack your own neck. There are many delicate structures in the neck that can easily be damaged if you don’t know what you’re doing and haven’t received proper training in anatomy and manual adjustments.
The method used by most people to crack their backs is to twist or stretch, which then releases tiny bubbles of gas in the spinal joints and creates the classic popping sound you hear. Some people have argued that cracking your back will cause arthritis, but there’s no evidence to support that idea. Notably, if you’re cracking it the wrong way you can create additional discomfort and pain. The spine is tough, but the structures that support it can be delicate – especially if something is already out of place.
It may feel good to crack your back, but you should practice caution -- just avoid doing it yourself or having a friend do it; it's simply not worth the risk. One wrong stretch or twist could incapacitate you, causing more damage. In the worst cases, you can cause the discs in your back to herniate or slip, causing many problems that could plague you for a lifetime.
If you’re experiencing discomfort, then come into The Joint Chiropractic for a consultation. Cracking your own back may feel good, but once you know how a healthy back is supposed to feel, you won’t want to go back to doing it yourself!
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.