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Is it Harmful to Crack Your Back Yourself?

For many people, nothing feels more satisfying after a long day at work or first thing is the morning than cracking their back. When you crack your back, that popping noise you hear comes from the formation of bubbles from synovial fluid in the joints that are reacting to the sudden force. Many people feel an urge to crack their back and do so for the release of tension and relief from pressure. This comes from the likeliness that the joints are restricted in their movements or out of alignment, which can affect other areas. When there’s this type of joint restriction, joint cracking can increase stiffness and discomfort. The motion created when the back is cracked can relieve that tension, resulting in relief.

But even if there’s the feeling of tension release after you crack your back, you might be making your back issues worse, causing injury, muscle strain, and pain. An experienced chiropractor can better determine how your spine should be manipulated and will use the proper force needed to correct a misalignment in the spine, without causing additional damage. Treatment can also provide long-lasting relief, unlike when you crack your back yourself.

Is Cracking Your Own Back Bad For You?

This is one of the most common questions from patients who complain of chronic back pain. Over time, cracking your back can result in joint instability if it’s done often enough. Joint instability can increase a person’s risk of developing osteoarthritis. The back will naturally crack from time to time, but it’s best to avoid cracking your back yourself and making it a habit.

In some cases, when a person cracks their own back, it may not even help. If a person experiences sudden pain, stinging pain, spinal pain, or discomfort after they crack their back or another joint, it may be a sign of a bigger issue that needs medical attention from a licensed chiropractor.

Why Does Your Back Crack?

The back cracks when the spine’s facet joints are manipulated out of their normal position, such as when the neck or lower back is twisted. This can produce a grinding sound, or an audible pop or crack sound that comes with a grinding sensation and a sense of relief immediately following the crack.

At each level of the spine there are two facet joints, one on the left and the other on the right. Each joint consists of a bony protrusion from the lower and upper vertebrae that are connected by a network of ligaments and synovium.

Why Does It Feel Good to Crack Your Back?

Joint cracking, whether it’s a knuckle popper, cracking your neck due to neck pain, or cracking your back, can all provide temporary relief from joint pressure and stiffness. Manual manipulation can focus on adjusting the facet joints to reduce pain and stiffness and create a healing environment. When a chiropractor adjusts a patient, they may hear an audible sound, almost a popping sound. This noisy sound is the release of gaseous bubbles from synovial fluid in the joints, followed by a feeling of relief. However, this physical relief is only temporary. In a matter of hours you may feel like you have to crack your back again, since the pain and tension are back. Cracking your back too often, for long periods of time can increase your risk for arthritis development and other complications.

When done by a professional, it can provide long-term benefits, such as a reduction in pain, a more flexible spine, improved range of motion, and a reduction in inflammation.

Possible Risks of Self-Cracking Your Back

Constantly cracking your back can provide relief throughout the day, but in some cases, if you experience pain after you crack your back, you need to stop and schedule an appointment with a licensed chiropractor. You may have caused an injury, such as a muscle strain or joint damage.

It’s safe to gently stretch, but for people with chronic back pain, cracking their back can do serious damage.

Over time, cracking your back too often can also cause joint instability.

Should You Avoid Cracking Your Back?

If you experience ongoing back pain and stiffness, it’s always recommended to have a licensed chiropractor crack your back. You should especially avoid cracking your back if you have brittle, fracture-prone bones.

Cracking your back every now and then isn’t generally harmful, but doing so constantly can have adverse effects. When a person self adjusts, that cracking or snapping sound indicates they have moved up the easiest movable joint. When this is done, the body releases endorphins, making the person think they cracked their back correctly. However, the problem is, the pain and stiffness will come back at some point during the day. When a chiropractor adjusts you, it’s different because they can identify the misaligned spinal joint and adjust the joint to place it in its original position.

Other Forms of Self-Chiropractic Care

In between chiropractic appointments, gentle stretching for chiropractic patients will be crucial. You should also focus on being more active. You can jog, go for a walk, do yoga, or participate in another type of physical activity. Try to keep the spine in motion as much as possible, since this can help your body settle into adjustments, keeping the spine in proper alignment. If you’re severely overweight, losing weight can also be beneficial and minimize the chances of future back pain.

When sitting, you should always pay attention to your posture. Another way to maintain spinal health is to continue to visit your chiropractor regularly.

If you’re suffering from chronic pain, now is the time to try manual spine treatment for natural pain management. Constantly cracking your back can worsen your condition. Before you do further damage, meet with an experienced chiropractor. They can identify the root cause of the pain and correct a misalignment. You may notice immediate pain relief or you may no longer have the urge to constantly crack your back. With regular chiropractic treatment, you’ll enjoy a long-term pain solution.

Contact Advantage Chiropractic Today to Schedule an Appointment

If you’re struggling with ongoing back pain and have to crack your back often to relieve the pain and tension, it’s time to schedule professional Chiropractic care from spine specialists at Advantage Chiropractic. Contact Advantage Chiropractic today to schedule an appointment. We can examine you to identify the spinal misalignment and adjust you safely and correctly, to reduce pain and inflammation and improve range of motion and flexibility. Call us today to learn more.Is It Harmful to Crack Your Back Yourself?

If you enjoyed this article, check out these other articles about back pain:
Can a Standing Desk Help My Back Pain?
Why Do I Wake Up With Lower Back Pain?

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