While you are cracking your back, it gives an amazing feeling. Not only this but cracking your back also means that you are adjusting your spine.
Cracking your back on your own at home is fine as long as you don’t force it and you do not make your spine do things it is not capable of.
Did you know that 45% of the people crack at least one of their joints daily? It just provides temporary relief and does not always have to produce those popping and cracking sounds to prove its effectiveness.
Today we will discuss nine ways on how to crack your back like a chiropractor, and learn about the benefits and risks of doing so.
Is It Okay To Crack Your Back?
It is absolutely okay to crack your back.
Studies have shown that cracking your back occasionally can provide temporary relief by reducing the pressure on your spine. It won’t give you any adverse effects. However, doing this regularly can cause your joints to wear out.
It has been circulating in our society for years that popping your joints can lead to arthritis. It is not clear as to why and how this myth started to evolve, but there are no specific studies that can prove the worth of this fact. So as a matter of fact, it is just an old wives’ tale.
There is a study where Dr Donald Unger decided to do a little experiment. He decided to bust this myth by cracking the knuckles of his left hand and not touching the knuckles of his right hand.
He continued to do this experiment for 50 years and popped his knuckles two times a day. After five decades he finally concluded that there is no difference between the knuckles of both his hands and that there were no signs of arthritis in the knuckles of his left hand.
According to another study conducted by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the researchers examined 250 people of different age groups, especially those between 50-89. Out of these people, 20% of the people had a regular habit of popping their knuckles.
This study showed that 18.1% of the knuckle poppers had arthritis in their hands. The number increased to 21.5% in people who did not pop their knuckles at all. This study showed that the development of arthritis has no link to popping your knuckles, and it forms irrespective of it.
However, several chiropractors argue that the knuckles on the hand and the bones on the back are notably different.
Spine specialists argue that cracking your back occasionally has no severe effects, but there are no studies to prove any health benefits as well.
Why Does It Feel Good To Crack Your Back?
The theory of why joints crack is limited. Therefore, the evidence to support the theory of why does it feel good is limited as well. However, some theories can throw some light on this fact.
One possible theory is that movement of any kind, in general, helps to relieve the tension from the bones and joints, therefore, reducing the pain.
According to the Gate Control Theory developed by Patrick Wall and Ronald Melzack in 1965 movement, in a nutshell, proves to an obstruction to the “gates” of painful input. These gates prevent the pain from flowing through the central nervous system.
Some researchers have argued that moving a particular area of your back which is hurting or which is tensed due to pressure can prevent your brain from sending painful signals which in turn provides temporary relief.
Another possible theory is that when you crack your back, and it creates a popping sound, it is a sign of its effectiveness.
A study of 2011 showed that when people heard their back cracking with a popping sound, they immediately felt a sense of relief even if the adjustment did nothing in reality.
People who lead a sedentary lifestyle feel relief by stretching their back. It happens because the muscles at our back can become stiff due to sitting in a similar position for a prolonged period. They believe that simply moving can ease the stiffness, thereby providing relief.
There are also claims which say that when joints are popped, it releases endorphins which provide temporary relief and a pleasurable feeling.
Cracking your back sends signals to the brain about a sense of relief and this is why people feel so. However, there is not much science backing up the effectiveness of this theory.
9 Ways to Safely Crack Your Back at Home
Occasional stretches and gentle movements can ease your back pain and can provide relief from the tension created at your back. Here are nine exercises that you can do at home to safely crack your back like a chiropractor.
Stretching with the back of a chair
- Take a chair that fits your shoulder blades above the top and sit on it.
- Lift your arms above your head and lean back. Try to relax while doing this until your back cracks.
- You should feel a stretch on your upper and middle back.
It is an easy yet effective way of cracking your back like a chiropractor.
- Take a sturdy chair and sit on it.
- Place your right hand on the seat of the chair and take your left arm to hold the right side of the chair.
- Carefully twist your upper body till you feel your tension from the muscles at your back is relieved.
- When you start to twist your back, you will feel your tension on the lower and middle back.
- Stand straight and wrap one hand on the fist of your other hand, keeping your hands aligned at the spine.
- Push up your hands up your spine and lean backwards to apply pressure. It will help you to crack your back.
- Experiment with different angles to satisfy your back.
This is a way of how you can crack your back like a chiropractor.
- Stand straight and place your palms on your hips and your pinky finger on your spine.
- Extend and lift your spine and then lean backwards.
- Apply gentle pressure with your hands on your back.
- Breathe and hold the position for 10-20 seconds. Lean further as your back allows you to.
Doing this will relieve the tension from your back.
- Place your hands behind your head while you are standing and interlace your fingers.
- Extend and lift your spine and then lean backwards.
- Press your head with your hands.
- Create resistance and hold this position for 10-20 seconds. Be sure to breathe.
- Stand straight and extend your arms in front of you and interlace your fingers.
- Keep your knees and hips still and slowly turn to your right.
- Turn back to the normal position and do the same thing on the left side.
- Do this movement a few times until you hear your back crack and you feel the tension on your spine relieved.
Feel the stretch on your lower back during this movement.
Sit straight on the floor and extend your left leg while keeping your right leg bent to keep your knees up. Cross the right leg over the leftover the left knee in the same position. Keep your spine straight and lengthened. Keep your right hand flat on the ground and cross your left hand over the left knee. Try to look over your right shoulder. Repeat this movement on the other side as well. Hold the pose for 10-20 seconds and feel the stretch. Do this until you hear your back crack.
Stretch with a foam roller
If you wonder how to crack your back like a Chiropractor easily, here’s the way.
- Use a foam roller place it under your shoulders and lie on your back with your knees bent.
- Extend your arms alongside your body over your head and interlace your fingers.
- Roll up and down using your heels over the foam roller. Bring the foam roller down to your spine.
- Repeat this movement ten times, and you can feel the pain and tension-reducing from your spine.
Supine is just another word for lying on your back.
- Lay down straight with your right leg extended, and your left leg bent.
- Extend your left arm and turn your head to the left, keeping your arm away from your body.
- Hold this position and twist the body to your right.
- Try to touch the ground with your shoulder on the left. Use a pillow to feel more comfortable.
- Remember to breathe as you straighten up and repeat the position on the other side.
- Be sure not to push your body and to listen to the flexibility of your body.
When Should You Not Crack Your Back
As already discussed, cracking your back frequently or not doing it the right way can cause complications.
It is advised not to crack your back if you had any back injury in the past and are recovering from it. Or if you experience any swelling or pain and even if you have an issue with your disk.
When you crack your back, it takes almost 20 minutes to recover. If you crack your back anytime between this duration, then it can strain your ligaments, causing adverse effects.
Apart from these, there are several other conditions which require total abstinence from back cracks:
- Severe osteoporosis.
- High risk of stroke.
- Tingling, loss of strength or numbness in legs and hands.
- Spinal cancer.
- An abnormality of the bone on the upper neck.
Healthy joints may not create a popping sound, and hence, you should visit a chiropractor to get a proper spine adjustment.
Some Back Cracking Tips from Chiropractors
Here are some ways in which you can ease your back pain at home safely and effectively just like your chiropractor.
- Do a stretch to start your day. Stretching regularly will enable you to know how far your back can stretch, and you will be able to design your exercises accordingly.
- Stop sit-ups as this can increase your back pain instead do side planks which will firm and tighten your core.
- Stretch your hamstring to prevent any misalignment and to prevent pressure building up on your back.
- Stop staring at your laptop screens, TVs or smartphones for long hours. This will make the muscles on your back stiff, thereby causing pain and stress.
- Stop sleeping on your stomach as this can ruin the natural curve of the spine. Instead, sleep on your back or your side.
- Sit straight and do not slouch. Also, do not cross your legs while sitting for a very long time.
- If your pain is unbearable and nothing can provide you with relief, then it is best to go for a therapeutic massage.
Respecting the limitations of your body is very important. Cracking your back like a chiropractor may sound relaxing for you, but you need to take care of a few things we mentioned. While performing these exercises, be sure to be gentle and slow. Also, we have mentioned when not to crack your back so be sure to follow that.