By Kennedy Shelley
When you are feeling tight in your back and neck and it’s just painfully annoying…and then there is that magic moment of relief when you hear it crack and you feel great.
Why did that happen, and is it safe?
Well unless you broke something because of a tremendous force being suddenly and viciously inflicted, it’s probably not going to harm you.
The sound you are hearing is just gas bubbles trapped in joint fluid being released.
The gas is most likely laughing gas, or nitrous oxide. No wonder you feel good.
You are also releasing micro receptors which override the pain receptors because of the mechanical pressure.
And then you probably will release some endorphins, which are natural pain killers in your brain.
Yes, you are feeling better for a reason.
So, does this hurt or harm you?
That depends on who you ask and why your back was hurting.
If it was because of a very serious condition such as a compressed disk or cracked vertebrate, you might have made the situation worse (and you will find out in 20 minutes after the nitrous oxide leaves your system).
If it was simple muscle tension, you might not have made it worse, but you didn’t solve the underlying problem.
In short, the solution to muscle tension is not a back crack, but some good deep stretching.
Google good yoga stretches for your back and you will find a host of ways to keep your back loose.
If this a recurring problem, go see a physical therapist.
They can suggest exercises you can do at home that will strengthen the right muscles to help.
Oftentimes the tight muscle isn’t really the problem, it’s a weak muscle nearby.
This doesn’t provide the immediate relief and satisfaction as a good back crack brings, but it will help keep it from flaring up as much.
Note, make sure you warm up the muscles some by walking around before you try any hard stretches. Muscle tears can result from doing a cold stretch.
And if you are continually cracking your back, there is the possibility that you could make the joints hypermobile, decreasing stability of the joint, which creates its own problems.
Is there a difference between cracking your back and the chiropractor crunch?
In short, yes.
Your back crunch is very non-specific, and the chiropractor isn’t trying to cause the popping sound, it might happen, but he’s trying to mobilize key ligaments, the material that holds joints together.
Different chiropractors practice different methods to achieve this, so shop around, but most people find relief from the aches and pains of life with the help of a good chiropractor.
So, you have a wealth of tools out there to help that aching back. Shop around and find what works for you.
If worse comes to worse, maybe you just need to relax with a good massage.
Why would that help?
It relaxes you and the tight muscles that are the root problem of most annoying back pain.