There’s nothing more satisfying that hearing the popping sounds that travel up and down your spine when you crack your back. But is cracking your own back really safe? Although a crack here and there probably won’t do you any harm, habitually cracking your own back may lead to more serious problems.

What Really Happens When I Crack My Back?

Much like cracking your knuckles, cracking your back may provide a temporary feeling of relief or relaxation. But what really happens when you crack your back? Each of your joints contains fluid that lubricates the joints and prevents painful movement. Joints also contain gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen. When you place the fluid-filled joints under pressure by twisting your spine, the gas exits abruptly and makes a cracking sound. The “crack” or “pop” is not a sign of pressure but does indicate that you’ve released some of the gas in your joints.

Potential Dangers of Cracking Your Own Back

Some cracks in your back or neck occur naturally, but habitually cracking your own back places additional stress on your joints. Like other structures in the body, joints consist of soft tissue that can be damaged when placed under excessive pressure. Additionally, the release of gases during back cracking can cause your joints to relax. This makes them more susceptible to injury, such as a herniated disk. Thus, it is never recommended to exercise or perform strenuous physical activity immediately after cracking your back.

Alternatives to Cracking Your Back

Chiropractic_spinal_adjustmentFor some people dealing with chronic back pain, cracking the back may be a way to try to get some relief. However, there are better ways of dealing with chronic pain. To begin, try stretching your back. Flex forward, stretching your back muscles, and hold for at least 30 seconds. Then, extend backwards and hold before gently bending from side to side. Avoid bouncing motions, which can exacerbate back problems or pain.

Of course, the best way to get the relief associated with back cracking is to see a spine care specialist who can alleviate your back tension. Spinal manipulation is a medical technique that can be highly effective when performed by a professional. For more information, contact Southeast Orthopedic Specialists today to discuss your situation and find the back relief you crave.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Return to Blog