Should you crack your own back?!

This is one of the most common questions I get asked, and you probably already know the answer!  Every week I sit across from clients and they tell me how one strategy they’ve tried to help resolve their issue or pain is “cracking” their own neck or back.  As soon as they say it, I can tell they are thinking, “I can’t believe I’m telling Dr. Bill this….”  I never shame them or scold them, but I don’t support the behavior either…because if it worked, would they be asking for my help?spinal twist

Is the “popping” sound normal?


Hearing spinal joints mover or “pop” from time to time is completely normal, joints move!  Our body is incredibly smart and it knows how to correct many abnormal joint positions in the body.  In fact, your body should take care of many spinal alignment issues on a daily basis just by getting enough activity in your life!  Now with that being said, if you, your friend, or partner are actively manipulating your spine or other joints there are repercussions.

What happens when you crack your own back?

Manipulating spinal joints inappropriately can create ligament instability, joint hypermobility, and chronic aberrant movement patterns within the spine and joints. Just because something CAN move doesn’t mean it should!  Continuously stimulating spinal joints, can stimulate the sympathetic nervous system as well (which is associated with the stress response).  Manipulating the spine at the wrong time in the wrong way can have long-term destabilizing effects.  Listen, most people’s spine and joint issues are chronic repetitive use injuries, or micro-traumas that lead to weakening of the internal structures. A “spinal manipulation” too often by an untrained person can obviously do this too.

I get it, even a blind squirrel finds a nut, your friend may have helped you “feel” better by popping your back, or you may have fallen down the steps and magically corrected a mechanical alignment, it happens!  But it is not the most efficient way!

What is a better option?

We believe that your spine and nerves matter, and are incredibly important to the health and vitality of you!  This is why we believe in proper testing in the form of Digital Infrared Technology to assess your nervous system, a proper structural and biomechanical evaluation, and digital x-rays to help us more efficiently care for you!  In fact upper cervical specific chiropractic is very conservative in nature and looks to adjust LESS, to create MORE stability!

If you are feeling like you always need your back or neck “popped”  then something might not be quite right, we’d be happy to help!  I hope this article helps shed some light on “popping backs” and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out!

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