While it might feel good, that snap, crackle, pop might mean you’re due for a doctor’s appointment.
So what does it all mean? Should you start worrying?
Not just yet. Instead, read our guide to learn more about the meaning behind that sudden sound. Here’s what happens when you crack your back.
Understanding the Spine
First of all, the spine is broken down into three major components. The spinal cord is the long bundle of nerves connecting the brain to nerves throughout your entire body.
Then there are the meninges, which are membranes around the spinal cord and brain. The meninges absorb any impact that occurs to your spine. They also contain fluid called cerebrospinal fluid.
Finally, there’s the spinal or vertebral column. The spinal column is made up of stacked pieces of bone called vertebrae. Your vertebrae work independently, allowing your back to bend and provide flexibility.
Some believe adjusting a joint releases synovial fluid. When the fluid becomes gaseous, it creates the snapping, popping sound.
Adjusting your back can stretch your facet joints, which are capsules at the outer edges of your vertebrae. When you stretch these capsules, the synovial fluid has more space to move. This releases pressure against your back joints and muscles.
Releasing this pressure makes the synovial fluid gaseous through a change of state called cavitation.
Then, you’ll hear the sound associated with cracking your back.
Other doctors believe gases such as nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide build between the joints over time. When we sit over long periods of time, the joints aren’t properly aligned, which causes swelling.
When you finally stretch and move, the gases are released, causing the back cracking sound.
Feels Good vs. Fears
For starters, you’re relieving pressure against your spine. Cracking your back can also release endorphins, which is the feel-good hormone. The pituitary gland creates endorphins to manage pain throughout the body.
When you crack your back and release these endorphins, you’ll experience a sense of satisfaction.
Some patients associate the back popping sound with positive relief. Hearing this sound, more than t
After cracking your back, you should experience some relief.
If your pain persists, however, a chiropractor might suggest surgery or anti-inflammatory medications to relieve your pain. Medication can reduce the back cracking sounds you’re hearing as well. When medication doesn’t work, however, your doctor might determine an injury or musculoskeletal disorder is the main culprit.
A licensed chiropractor or physical therapist can help address any chronic back pain you’re experiencing.
First, lie on your back and hug your knees to your chest. Repeat this exercise two or three times, twice a day.
You can also try a lower back rotation
Lie on your back and bend your knees. Keep your shoulders stationary as you move your hips to one side, until your knees touch the ground. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
Then repeat on the other side.
However, it’s important you don’t try to manipulate individual back joints or discs alone. This can lead to damage or injury. Instead, see a chiropractor and let them know about what happens when you crack your back.
Understanding What Happens When You Crack Your Back
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