Our body is full of moving parts that bend and twist all day long. As you move and go about your day you may hear a familiar “POP” or “CRACK” from one or more of your joints. Unless you have done extensive research on your own or are a frequent visitor to a chiropractor you have likely wondered what those popping sounds are and if they are good or bad for your body to be making.
Depending on your health it may be harmless to crack your back and even be beneficial. Getting your back cracked is often related to relieving muscle tensions, fixing joint alignments, and relieving joint and back pain.
What is that Popping Noise?
It has been debated by professionals for a long time what is happening in the body and between joints to cause the popping or cracking sound. No need to worry, it does not come from any joints, ligaments, or bones actually cracking or popping under pressure.
A theory that was once popular among people was that the cracking or popping noise was coming from your bones or tendons grinding together. It was thought that this could cause arthritis, joint soreness, and joint swelling. This theory has been proven false and studies have shown that popping your back or knuckles can be beneficial to those suffering from joint pain.
We believe now that the cracking noises are some sort of gas or fluid pressure release. When joints are being adjusted or manipulated the fluids or gasses that have built up are released and create the noise we are all familiar with.
Who Should Crack Your Back
Joints popping and cracking are totally normal and happen regularly. Often times it is completely intentional. If you have been sitting too long at a desk, hunched over, your spinal joints are likely going to crack as you slowly extend your back and realign your posture.
If you are looking for a more regular back cracking because of muscle tension, experiencing pain in your back or other joints, or wanting to make adjustments, it would be good to see a physical therapist or chiropractor. Cracking your back isn’t always the right option and they can help guide you to getting the right treatment. If it is determined that chiropractic treatment would be beneficial they will help create a plan with you and give you gentle stretches to help with home treatment between appointments.
If you are wondering if you can crack your back at home the answer is that it is possible. It should be done with caution and care. Only a trained and licensed professional should be performing adjustments and joint manipulation within a controlled environment.
How to Crack Your Back Yourself
The following stretches and movements are things you can do at home to crack your back or relax your back and neck muscles:
- Neck Side Rotation
- Bridge Stretch
- Foam Roller Stretch
- Shoulder Blade Stretch
- Seated Twist
Neck Side Rotation
You can do the side neck rotation seated or standing. It is a great stretch to help with neck pain as well as alertness.
- Take one hand and place it on the opposite rear side of your head
- Gently bring your head down toward your armpit till you feel a slight stretch
- hold for a few seconds before you release
This is a great stretch for the hips, hamstrings, and spinal column. It can help strengthen the muscles to help treat and prevent further pain in the lower back and hip area.
- Lie flat on your back with your arms at your side, palms facing down
- With your knees bent bring your feet firmly on the floor towards your hands till your heels are a few inches away from the tips of your fingers
- Lift your tailbone until your body is flat from your knees through your core, all the way to your shoulders.
- Hold this pose for up to 1 minute before slowly lowering your tailbone back to the ground.
Foam Roller Stretch
This is a great stretch for the upper body if you are experiencing pain around your shoulder blades and upper spine. It can also be used to pop your back.
- With your knees bent lying on your back, place a foam roller at your shoulder blades
- Using your heels move your body to roll the foam roller along your spine
- Do this a couple of times making sure not to go up onto your neck to prevent injury
Shoulder Blade Stretch
Upper back pain can be caused by various things. Sometimes you have been sitting with poor posture for too long, or sleeping wrong. Whatever the reason this stretch can help release some of the tension and allow the muscles to relax and the joints to go back to a more natural position.
- With both arms straight and stretched out in front of you, clasp one hand on top of the other hand
- Slowly reach in front of you as far as you can go comfortably, your shoulders moving forward slightly
- Breathe deeply and hold for a few seconds
- Relax and let down your arms and repeat 2-4 more times
The seated twist is a great stretch and movement to crack your lower back if you are experiencing pain or fatigue in that part of the back.
- Sit up on the ground with one leg straight and one leg bent
- Bring your bent knee over your straight knee
- Bring the opposite arm and brace it against the bent knee
- Rotate your back slowly, bracing against your knee
- Hold for a few seconds or a couple of breaths and switch sides to repeat the process
Let’s Get Crackin’
If you have questions regarding getting your back cracked or if chiropractic care is right for you, it is best to seek advice from a physical therapist, chiropractor, or another medical practitioner. If you are experiencing back pain or discomfort you should consider therapeutic joint manipulation.
Give Our Office a Call. Our doctors at Legacy Health will be able to determine the right treatment plan for you so that you have the knowledge you need to feel confident moving forward.