How to crack your back? Cracking your back can feel great at the moment, giving you the feeling that you’ve released pent-up tension — but is it really good for your back? A crack in your back won’t cause any immediate problems, but you may injure your back and cause worse problems in the future if you do it.
Although popping your back might feel good, it does not address any underlying issues and could make them worse. You may visit a chiropractor if you continue to feel pain in your upper back or lower back, but did you know that a physical therapist can also be an advocate for your recovery and provide relief from pain?
When you crack your back, what causes the “crack”?
Intriguingly, scientists have not yet identified what causes your back (or your knuckles, for that matter) to “crack” and feel better when pressure is applied to those joints. Scientists and medical professionals have several theories as to why this happens.
Some believe cracking your facet joints stretches the capsules surrounding them. By providing more room for the synovial fluid to move, the pressure on the facet joints is reduced. The sudden reduction of pressure causes the synovial fluid to suddenly release its gases, a process is known as cavitation, resulting in the popping or cracking sound.
The theory goes that stretching the joints through pressure or by moving in a certain way can release gases, such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and oxygen. These gases can build up between your joints over time. Gas accumulation in the joints may be contributed to by poor posture, sitting for long periods of time, or even ” tech neck ” caused by using a phone or other electronic device.
How to Crack Your Back?
Your physical therapist can help you with gentle stretches to strengthen your back muscles and loosen (or crack) tight areas. Listed below are a few stretches you can do at home to safely crack your back and release tension.
- Chair Spinal Twist. By sitting sideways in a chair, you can gain leverage for stretching your back. As you begin, place your feet firmly on the ground and twist your torso toward the back of the chair to tighten the stretch. Shift your body from one side of the chair to the other and repeat this motion. If you twist too abruptly on either side, you may cause more stress on your spine.
- Rocking Floor Stretch. This stretch stretches your spinal column. You should lie on a comfortable mat for this stretch. While holding your knees to your chest, gently rock forwards and backward to feel the stretch on each area of your spine.
- The Butterfly Stretch. You can use this to stretch your upper back muscles in a controlled way. You can either sit or stand for this stretch – whichever is more comfortable for you. You should place the fingertips of each hand on the same shoulder and keep the palms of your hands facing down. Keep your hands in place and move your elbows toward each other until you feel a stretch in your upper back. Hold this stretch for about five seconds before moving your elbows back to their original position.
- Rounded Back Stretch. Rounded back stretches are good for stretching out tight muscles. Sitting in a chair is the easiest way to perform these stretches. Stretch your arms out in front of you, then clasp your hands together, letting your palms face outward and away from your body. In this position, you will round your upper back, drop your chin to your chest, and reach out as far as you can. Hold the stretch for a few seconds.
Low-impact exercises are also great for improving your back health. You can also use props such as an exercise ball, foam roller, or chair to push your stretching and offer leverage.
Don’t continue a particular exercise if you are experiencing pain. Then it is better to rest your muscles than to push through the pain. (This is why working with a physical therapist and having a specialized plan is so crucial.)