Is Popping Your Own Back Bad?

Longmont chiropractor

Some of us have formed a habit of “cracking” or “popping” our own backs or necks. And some of us will actually get some temporarily relief from doing so. We often get asked the question:” Is cracking my back bad?”

The popping sound that one hears, or as we say in Chiropractic, an “audible release” is called cavitation. It is caused by the sudden release of gases (primarily nitrogen and carbon dioxide) from the joint fluids that surround each joint, when the joint space is suddenly increased. The negative pressure created within the expanded joint forces the gases from the liquid, much like when a bottle of champagne is opened and it makes a popping sound.

Although “cracking your own back” produces the same sound as a chiropractic adjustment, they are not the same. A chiropractic adjustment is a highly specialized ability that requires at least five years of post graduate schooling to learn initially and a lifetime to perfect.

Dr Jay and Dr Christina find the joints that are most restricted and then, by applying pressure, increase its mobility and movement. All of this is done quickly and precisely, with just the correct amount of force needed, no more and no less than what is required.

Unfortunately, what tends to happen when joints become restricted in their movement is that adjacent joints tend to overcompensate and become hyper-mobile, i.e. they move too much. These joints that don’t need to move are often the joints that one will “crack” or “pop” when trying to adjust you self.

Often, self-adjustments are not very specific and the entire back goes, making a lot of noise. If noise was your goal, you probably got that. If correction of the problem is what you hoped to do, you were probably disappointed.

Does “popping” your own back give you a relief? Momentarily.  Although the problem is not only that the relief is very temporarily. One can be sure that the wrong joints (the hypermobile ones) are released. It requires skill, knowledge and practice to know and feel which joints need attention.

 If your back often feels like it needs to be “popped”, we can help! By letting a trained professional adjust your back, you can feel confident that you are getting a correct and beneficial adjustment. Give us a call today at 303-776-6767 to schedule your New Patient Exam and see the difference chiropractic can make in your life!