Is Cracking Your Back Good for You, Bad for You, or Just a Waste of Time?

As a chiropractor, I routinely get asked the question “is cracking my back good for me”.  This is a topic that is very important to discuss.  We all know someone who habitually cracks his or her neck.   You may have a co-worker who is infamous for filling the office with loud crunches, cracks and pops throughout the day.  I am here to set the record straight about cracking your own back.

There are a few important facts regarding the health concerns with cracking your back:

  • Compressing joints until they crack without proper training can be dangerous.  People have been known to cause injuries from forcing joints to move. Soft tissue injuries and actual joint problems can arise.
  • The ligaments that hold our joints together can be deformed, stretched and damaged from long term self cracking.  By deforming the ligaments which hold us together we have no chance at having good posture or proper joint health.
  • A general movement or twist is not the same thing as an adjustment.  A chiropractic adjustment requires specific angles and contacts with a high force, low amplitude movement applied.  This is not something an amateur can do.
  • If “self-adjusting” was effective it would eliminate problems as opposed to be a very temporary.  Most people who routinely self adjust themselves are always doing it.  If it was working correctly, wouldn’t the problems go away?  Not to mention, if self adjusting worked, I would be out of a job.
  • It’s dangerous to violently twist your neck- the spinal cord and nerves can be damaged by doing this.
  • You look silly reeming on your joints in public.

Have you ever noticed that people who crack their backs or necks constantly do it?  This point should be noted.  If self adjusting was good for someone why would they have to continually keep doing it, sometimes dozens of times a day?

A chiropractic doctor has been trained to be an expert at adjusting regions that need to be moved.  They deliver precise and specific movements that should give long lasting corrections to the joints.  As tempting as it may be to try and “be your own chiropractor”, think again and seek help from a professional.