In moderation, the answer is no. Studies have shown that occasionally cracking your back can help relieve pressure in your spine without adverse effects. However, when done habitually, popping can cause excessive wear on your joints and potentially lead to premature breakdown.
Well to put it simply, your joints make a cracking sound when a bubble forms. Typically, this happens when tension mounts in a joint to the point where synovial fluid rapidly accumulates and cavitation occurs.
That said, stretching your back in order to crack it can provide a real feeling of relief for many people who spend much of their day sitting. This is because many of the muscles that support the spine can grow stiff and tense after long periods of inactivity and stretching them, even if it's done to inadvertently crack your back, can feel really good.
This can lead your brain to interpret and associate the feeling of cracking your back with a looser, more flexible spine, even though it was the stretching of the muscles that actually provided the feeling.
Even though that sensation of popping your back can feel good, doing so will not actually address any underlying issues and could make them worse. If you continue to feel discomfort in your upper back or in your lower back, it is common to visit a local chiropractor for spinal adjustments that can relieve some of your pain, but did you know that a physical therapist can be a great advocate for recovery and relieving pain as well?
A physical therapist can help you with gentle stretches that help strengthen muscles in your back and loosen (or crack) areas that feel tight. Here are a few stretches you can complete at home to safely crack your back and release tension along your spine.
Low-impact exercises are additionally great for improving your back health. You can also use props such as an exercise ball, foam roller, or chair to push your stretching and offer leverage for cracking your back. Just remember, if you start to feel pain during a particular exercise, do not continue. In that case, it is better to rest your muscles than push through the pain. (This is why working with a physical therapist -- and a customized plan -- is so important.)
One of the best --- and safest -- ways to relieve pain in your back is to get help from your physical therapist. They can help you with your mobility and strengthening your back muscles to recover from your persistent back pain.
Instead of needing to feel the release of popping your back every time you get home from work, your PT can help create a personalized plan for daily stretches that will lessen your pain and treat the underlying cause.
Sit on the ground and bring the wheel up to your lower back. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall outwards into a butterfly position. Hold onto the wheel as you look up and rest backwards over the wheel, allowing your body to mold to the wheel. Release your hands from the wheel and allow them to rest on the ground. Take a deep breath in, and slowly release your breath and close your eyes.
If your job, exercise routine, or another aspect of your life requires you to routinely lift, twist, or bend, you are likely at greater risk of pulling or straining your stretching lower back muscles, which can lead to debilitating back pain in some cases. To prevent lower back injury or pain, use these helpful tips:
Even with proper form and precautions, lower back pain is not always unavoidable. If you do injure or strain your lower back, or if you develop chronic low back pain related to another condition, we can help. Based on the nature of your back problems, the severity of your symptoms, and other individual factors, Drs. Kohler and Maniam will formulate a customized treatment plan that best suits your needs. Some of the most frequently used treatments for low back pain or injury include:
With a comprehensive suite of cutting-edge restorative and regenerative treatments available in NYC, we are committed to helping you get the rapid, reliable, and long-lasting relief from lower back pain that you deserve.
To give yourself abdominal thrusts, also called the Heimlich maneuver, place a fist slightly above your navel. Grasp your fist with the other hand and bend over a hard surface. Shove your fist inward and upward.
If you're the only rescuer, give back blows and abdominal thrusts first. Then call 911 or your local emergency number for help. If another person is there, have that person call for help while you give first aid.
Why does back cracking feel so good? Because cracking your back involves twisting or maneuvering it so pressure is released from tiny spaces between joints. The same thing happens when you stretch and open up other parts of your body, such as when cracking your knuckles.
If your back is mostly in good shape without any serious damage, cracking it now and then might temporarily help you to feel better. However, you want to avoid repetitive back cracking, especially with harsh and sudden twists that can actually worsen pain.
If done too much, back cracking can lead to hyper-mobility of affected joints, which will cause muscles in the back to wind up getting tighter. This can lead to tense muscles, muscle spasms and then back pain.
How can you crack your back by yourself? You can with help from certain stretches, but I still recommend seeing a chiropractor for adjustments if you regularly experience the need to crack your back or neck.
Cracking your neck can provide short-term pain relief if you have a stiff neck. You may also find that cracking your neck alleviates back pain and headaches. The benefits are limited, however, and studies show that neck cracking has only mildly positive effects and that the number of audible joint pops from spinal manipulation does not have a strong association with improvement in neck pain (1, 2).
If you feel that your neck pain warrants a major manual adjustment, speak to a healthcare provider about a referral to a chiropractor who can safely pop your neck joints. Some people who find relief from neck cracking or chiropractic adjustment may also benefit from physical therapy.
Cracking your neck could provide temporary relief from a stiff neck, neck pain, or back pain. But neck cracking is a short-term solution and ongoing neck pain may require a visit to a healthcare provider for treatment.
While cracking sounds can come from normal, safe moments within the body, they can also result from osteoarthritis or an injury. If you notice that your joints are becoming painful or swollen upon cracking them, talk to a doctor (6, 7).
The popping sound when you crack your neck may result from the bursting of gas bubbles or the movement of tendons and ligaments. Popping sounds can also result from osteoarthritis, so if your joints ache or swell after cracking them, you may have an underlying problem and should talk to a healthcare provider.
If you decide to crack your neck, start with stretching your neck by looking down and then up slowly several times. To crack your neck, you can then lie prone on the ground and move your body up and down with a foam roller beneath your neck. Alternatively, you can grasp your jaw with one hand, the back of your head with the other hand, and twist your head. If you choose the second method, then twist counterclockwise if your left hand is on your jaw and clockwise if your right hand is on your jaw.
For a more comprehensive spinal manipulation therapy program, consider seeking physical therapy or chiropractic care (8). A physical therapist or chiropractor can develop a treatment plan that will best address your pain or discomfort.
If you have a condition such as scoliosis, arthritis, or spinal stenosis, talk to a doctor about the potential risks and benefits of cracking your neck. You may need to refrain from cracking your neck yourself and instead request referral to physical therapy or chiropractic care to find relief safely.
Always slowly, gently stretch before cracking your neck. You can crack your neck by lying on the floor with a foam roller beneath your neck, by twisting your head, or by manual adjustment from a chiropractor.
Neck cracking is not especially dangerous, but the therapeutic effects are limited, and so cracking should not be overdone. Improperly cracking your neck could increase your pain, over-stretch your ligaments, or damage the vertebrae in your spine.
Neck cracking has limited side effects and may provide short-term pain relief or temporarily restore your range of motion if your neck muscles are tight. However, cracking your neck is not a long-term solution. The risks of cracking your neck are quite low, but you should take care not to twist too far. Cracking your neck too often, or improperly, could weaken your neck ligaments or cause injury, resulting in greater pain and discomfort.
If you find that cracking your neck provides you with significant relief, consider seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor. A comprehensive spinal manipulation therapy program that includes neck adjustment may provide more sustained pain relief and will limit the possibility of injuries.
Are you wondering if you're doing more harm than good when you crack your back? If so, you're not alone. Thousands, if not millions, of people routinely ask themselves or their health care providers the same question. There's just something about cracking your back that feels so good but also so wrong. In today's post, we'll give you all the information you need to know about exactly what happens when you crack your back. To start things off, let's go over some related anatomy.
The spine is divided into cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back), and lumbar (lower back) regions. Each region is composed of uniquely shaped bones known as vertebrae. There are a total of twenty-four vertebrae in the mentioned regions. The breakdown of vertebrae per region is as follows:
An anatomical spine is one in which the vertebrae of each region perfectly align to form a channel that allows the spinal cord to pass from the brain to the lower back. This channel is called the spinal canal. In addition to forming the spinal canal, the vertebrae have the important job of facilitating movement by serving as the sites for ligament and tendon attachments. The joints that are responsible for moving the spine are called the facet joints. 2b1af7f3a8