Almost everyone has experienced it at some time or another. Be it after a tenuous car ride or after several hours sitting at a desk, the satisfying feeling of twisting your back and hearing the little pop sound is almost euphoric. Not only is the sound satisfying, but generally cracking your back relieves stiffness and temporarily reduced pain. While there is relief, you might want to know how to crack your back properly and if it is safe to do so.
WHAT IS THAT POPPING SOUND?
Contrary to some wild theories, the popping sound you hear is not your joint coming out of your socket. The popping sound is actually indicative of carbon dioxide gas buildup releasing from a joint.
IS CRACKING YOUR BACK BAD FOR YOU?
Well like everything in life, the answer depends on the frequency. If done in moderation cracking your back most likely will not impact your health in any serious way. However, if done frequently, self-back cracking can weaken cartilage, strain tendons, damage ligaments, and potentially mask serious problems. As indicated earlier, self- back cracking only offers temporary pain relief so the root of the problem will still be there.
SO, WHILE THERE IS RELIEF, KNOWING HOW TO CRACK YOUR BACK PROPERLY IS BETTER LEFT TO A PROFESSIONAL.
Now if you have ever been adjusted by a chiropractor, you may have heard similar popping noises and experienced long term pain relief. However, it is important to distinguish the distinct difference between self-cracking and the more specific and directed techniques that chiropractors utilize to treat their patients. Chiropractors have years of training to evaluate the specific problems and direct pressure to the problem areas. They do not aim to crack your back; rather gas is occasionally released while re-adjusting the spine.
Some better alternatives to relieving back stiffness and chronic back pain are regular chiropractic adjustments and stretching. Taking breaks to occasionally walk around or readjust your sitting position and practicing proper posture are also great preventative measures to prevent lower back pain and stiffness.
I hope this helped answer some questions you may have had and if you or anyone you know are experiencing pain and would like to take the first steps toward getting relief, just call Atlas Chiropractic in Boulder at (303) 442-5911 and we’ll gladly get you scheduled for an appointment or feel free to fill out a web form here on our website. We look forward to helping you heal and get moving!
Dr. Cort Musolf