2045 N Franklin St, Christiansburg, VA 24073 Schedule an Appointment Have a Question? Get Answers. (540) 951-6900

Is It Bad to Crack Your Back?

By
back-cracking
Having a friend crack your back may provide some temporary relief, but it won’t fix the underlying issue causing pain and can result in injury.

There are varying opinions about whether people should crack their knuckles, back, or other joints in the body. Many people wonder about the cracking noise that occurs during a chiropractic adjustment, and some claim that having a friend apply force to “crack their back” can produce the same effect. But what actually happens when your back cracks? And how is it different than treatment from a chiropractor? Let’s take a look.

What Causes Your Back to Crack?

A recent MRI study published in April 2015 in the journal PLOS ONE illustrates what happens when you crack your fingers: Your joints are separated by force, forming a cavity that causes the cracking noise we are familiar with.

When your back cracks, the same principle applies — gases between the joints of the spine form a cavitation that causes a change in pressure, producing a popping noise.

Back cracking is perfectly normal. Gases and liquids surround the joints of the spine, and as you move throughout the day they move too. When pressure is applied, such as during a chiropractic adjustment, these liquids and gases rapidly move and form cavities that produce the popping noise. The joints and bones themselves are not affected by the cavities created.

Sometimes the back cracks as a result of ligaments tightening or shifting, but it also might be the result of a more serious condition, such as arthritis — rough bone edges may rub together because of the deterioration of smooth cartilage.

How Are Chiropractic Adjustments Different?

During chiropractic adjustment, cracking or popping noises typically occur as a natural result of specific manipulation applied to the joint, including changes in pressure that occur when your joints are being moved.

Having a friend crack your back and seeing a chiropractor are very different. Having an untrained person apply force that creates a cracking sound may provide some sort of temporary relief, but it also comes with a greater risk of injury. Only a trained, experienced professional like a chiropractor can manipulate specific joints and adjust them properly to provide lasting relief and appropriate treatment. Chiropractors can assess exactly where a joint is malfunctioning or causing pain and can deliver adjustments with specific, targeted intent that restores function and mobility to the joint.

There is a much higher chance that an untrained amateur could accidentally injure your back. Chiropractors are highly trained, and chiropractic manipulation is a very specific procedure. Dr. Ray Tuck, D.C., summed it up:

Anyone can produce a popping sound from a person’s back. A doctor of chiropractic can determine where an adjustment to a specific joint needs to be performed.

Doctors of chiropractic are trained to perform adjustments on patients with lower back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of chiropractic adjustment, please contact us with any questions or to schedule a consultation.

Image Copyright: pressmaster / 123RF Stock Photo

About the Writer

The writing team at Tuck Chiropractic.

You may also be interested in...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TUCK CHIROPRACTIC HIRES DR. PATRICK BOYLAN FOR BLACKSBURG LOCATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TUCK CHIROPRACTIC HIRES DR. PATRICK BOYLAN FOR BLACKSBURG LOCATION BLACKSBURG, VA, July xx, 2019 - Tuck Chiropractic Clinic has hired… Read More

Easy Shoulder Strengthening Exercises

Your shoulders are made up of some of the most complex combinations of bones, joints, tendons, and muscles in the entire body.… Read More

Staff Spotlight: Judy Lintecum

Tuck Clinic's presence in Southwest Virginia has a strong history of helping patients feel and live better. Chiropractic Assistant, Judy Lintecum, has… Read More

What’s the Best Exercise Style for Your Body

Starting a new exercise regimen can be a daunting task. Depending on your level of ability and starting point, some exercise routines… Read More

Need help? Call us!

540-951-6900

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!