- Cracking your back isn’t always a bad thing- but, there are risks involved.
- While having a professional crack your back is best, cracking your own back is better than having an unlicensed friend or family member do it for you.
- There are other, less risky, ways to relieve tension in your back.
For some, there’s nothing quite so satisfying as the sound and sensation of a cracking back. The sense of release, the audible pops, and the deep stretch can feel like a 30-second yoga class.
And, cracking your back isn’t always a bad thing- as long as you’re not doing it constantly.
“Every once in a while, that’s ok, but cracking your back daily can cause the cartilage to wear out, leading to pain or possibly tendon and ligament tears,” orthopaedic surgeon Armin Tehrany explained to Women’s Health.
Healthline also reported that cracking joints like your neck or back can result in permanent stretching of the surrounding ligaments. This can cause conditions such as perpetual instability, which makes you more at risk of developing osteoarthritis. Chronic back cracking can also leave you with hypermobility, or an abnormal range of motion in your joints.
If you want to crack your back, asking your unlicensed friend to do it for you isn’t the best option
With all of those risks at play, it’s no surprise that when it comes to manipulating the bones of your back, experts say that it’s always better to get a professional to do it. But, if that’s not an option, cracking your own back is safer than having a friend do it for you.
“It’s pretty hard for you to hurt yourself when you’re cracking your back on your own, since you’ll instinctively want to protect yourself from harm,” Ferhan Asghar, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at UC Health, told SELF.
However, when an unlicensed person does it for you, they might use more force or pressure than is healthy for your back, You can end up damaging bone or muscle if your buddy bends you the wrong way.
“When a person performs a violent twisting motion, they are taking a nonspecific spinal joint and pressing it into an extreme position, giving off the audible cracking sound,” physical therapist Jeffrey Yellin told Elite Daily.
And you might want to limit your personal back-cracking. Yellin warned that inexpertly cracking your back a lot over time might lead to an unstable, misaligned spine.
You can also try stretching to relieve tension
If you’re not looking to crack your own back, you can practice gentle stretching after a warm shower, Dr. Tehrany told Women’s Health. Step out of the shower, dry yourself off, and slowly bend forward at the waist. Hang over the ground for 15 to 30 seconds, or as long as is comfortable. This will help relieve any tension in your back and shoulders without actually cracking your joints.
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