One of the first things many people do after waking up or after a long day of work is crack their back. Even though a proper spinal adjustment does not require a cracking sound to be effective, hearing one creates the feeling that you released tension, tightness, or discomfort. However, many wonder if cracking your back can cause or worsen back pain. Continue reading to learn more about the common myths and misconceptions associated with cracking your back. If you still have more questions, contact the back doctors at New Jersey Spine & Orthopedic.
Is It Bad to Crack Your Back?
In general, it is safe to crack your back. However, that has not stopped people from creating wild misconceptions about the practice, such as developing arthritis or stunting growth.
Arthritis Does Not Come from Back Cracking
One of the most common myths regarding back or knuckle cracking is that it will cause arthritis. Arthritis forms from natural wear and tear on the body as we age. A joint infection or injury can expedite the natural breakdown of tissue. However, cracking your back and other chiropractic care may actually ease some of your pain.
Back Cracking Does Not Stunt Growth
Since you may release fluid or gas when cracking your back, people say it can stunt your growth. This is not the case. Cracking your back relieves pressure between the spinal discs, which is not related to bone growth. Growth occurs in the epiphyseal plate in the long bones.
Injuries are Rare When Cracking Your Back
It is rare for an injury, such as a slipped disc, to occur from back cracking. You should exercise caution when cracking your back if you have an existing disc or vertebrae injury. Excessive back cracking may exacerbate your symptoms and worsen your pain.
Should You Crack Your Back Every Day?
Back cracking multiple times a day might not be the healthiest option. Signs of a back condition that requires treatment includes chronic pain or discomfort before and after spinal manipulation. Instead, consider doing gentle stretches that help improve your strength, flexibility, and posture.
While cracking your back every day may not cause any injury, it might be a sign of a more severe back condition. If you find yourself needing relief multiple times a day, you should figure out the underlying cause. You can do this by completing our free Pain Assessment Tool. Then, discover treatment options through our Treatment Finder.
Are There Times I Should Not Crack My Back?
There are instances where you should not crack your back. If you are recovering from an injury, have a disc issue, or have pain or swelling, cracking your back might worsen your pain or condition. Additionally, it takes about 20 minutes for a joint to be ready to crack again. Do not crack the same area during this time as it can strain the ligaments. Additionally, you should avoid cracking your back if you have:
- Spinal cancer
- High risk of stroke
- Neckbone abnormalities
- Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs
The Back Doctors at NJ Spine & Orthopedic Are Here to Alleviate Your Back Pain
Overall, cracking your back most likely will not lead to any severe health issues or risks. However, try to avoid doing it too often, forcing it into awkward positions, or using too much pressure. You must remember that cracking your back is typically only temporary relief. If you are experiencing chronic pain or discomfort for more than a few weeks, contact NJ Spine & Orthopedic. Our skilled back doctors can work with you to learn why your back is causing you discomfort and work toward a resolution through conservative healing methods and minimally invasive surgery. To schedule a free consultation, call (866) 272-9271 or complete our online contact form.