Is cracking your own back bad?

Being on go mode at all times takes a toll on your body. Typing away at your computer or running around all day can result in an uncomfortable, achy feeling. You know how it goes: Your joints tighten up, and the urge to twist and turn to crack your back creeps in. You give in, do a little twist and that familiar “pop” sound signals a soothing release. Your back might feel a little better afterward so every time your back tightens up again….you crack it again in hopes of relieving the tension. Treating your back to a crack is not the answer. The cracking sound is actually a release of carbon dioxide gas that builds up in a joint. Unlike a trained chiropractor who can precisely target and crack the level of the spine that is restricted, when you crack your own back you may be targeting an area that is compensating for other segments from abnormal movement patterns. If not done properly, you can actually be making the problem worse. When you have a joint that is restricted the joints above and below the stuck segment will usually “crack or pop” to compensate for the fixed segment, only a trained professional should assess and correct the specific stuck segment. Also, routinely cracking your back can just be another way to mask the issue, rather than addressing and correcting the root cause. Instead of cracking your own neck, try doing some stretches at home instead that help relieve tension. Stretches that promote movement in all directions can help relieve pressure without cracking your back. A wonderful stretch is the open book stretch, where you lie on your side with your hips and knees bent to 90 degrees. Stretch both arms out to one side, so both hands are touching, then turn your upper body to open up your chest while moving your top arm across your body. Hold this pose for two to five seconds. You can do this 10 to 15 times on each side to really stretch out your back. Using a foam roller is another great way to stretch out the muscles along the spine without twisting your back out of alignment. If you would like to make an appointment with one of our chiropractors to get your spine checked give us a call at 515-278-9678


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