We often get asked whether choosing to crack your own back is bad for you. While it is an old wives tale that cracking knuckles will cause arthritis, your back contains many more joints and care should be taken when twisting or extending to make joints ‘crack’ or ‘pop’. Many people feel the urge to crack their backs and describe relief afterwards – so surely it can’t be dangerous?
Scientifically speaking, manipulating a joint until you hear the audible pop will not cause damage to that joint. However, it is still not advised to take control of your own back cracking – read on to find out why.
Choosing to crack your own back
There are various ways to make your back joints crack, but the important thing is finding the underlying reason why your joints need to pop. You’ll notice after the crack of a joint, you experience a greater range of movement in that area. Chiropractors call this a spinal adjustment, and seeing as that’s what we specialise in, we obviously don’t think it is dangerous for our backs – quite the opposite!
However, there is a difference between self-back cracking and seeing a chiropractor. In order to crack your back, you may move and twist in different positions which could cause further harm. If you ask somebody else at home to help you crack your back, unless they are a qualified specialist they could target the wrong areas and cause more pain, rather than relief.
A joint pop or crack which is delivered by yourself or an unqualified person will only provide temporary relief. You will feel the urge to crack once again in a day or so. Many chiropractors believe that the desire to twist and crack the back is the result of an imbalance in the spine, or a sign that it is not moving correctly. Constantly twisting and cracking will not solve this problem, and there’s a chance it could make it worse.
The difference between cracking your own back and getting chiropractic treatment is years of study and research! A chiropractor can do a full examination of your spine and the rest of your body to determine problems in mobility. They can then perform targeted movements with expertise (manipulations and adjustments) to reduce joint stiffness and increase range of motion. You will hear a similar popping sound, but a chiropractor is actually getting to the root of the problem, rather than providing a temporary fix.
Contact us to book your first appointment with a specialist to help stop your back cracking habit!