Cracking your own back won’t lead to any health issues if you do it safely. Avoid cracking your back too often, forcing it into positions, or using too much pressure. Do stretches and exercises that promote a healthy spine and apply ice and heat to the affected area if needed.
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 okay, but cracking your back daily can cause the cartilage to wear out, leading to pain or possibly tendon and ligament tears,” orthopedic surgeon Armin Tehrany explained to Women’s Health.
While standing, make a fist with one hand and wrap your opposite hand around it at the base of your spine. Push up on the spine with your hands at a slight upward angle. Lean back, using the pressure of your hands to crack your back. Move your hands up your spine and do the same stretch at different levels.
Back cracking can occur whenever the spine’s facet joints are manipulated out of or into their normal position, such as when twisting the lower back or neck. When the facet joints move like this, they can produce an audible crack or pop along with a grinding sensation or sudden relief of pressure.
By cracking your own back, you could actually make your back issues worse and cause more pain, muscle strain or injury. Professionals can better determine how to manipulate your spine with proper force, without causing additional damage. They can also address any additional issues you might have.
Back cracking also causes endorphins to be released around the area that was adjusted. Endorphins are chemicals produced by the pituitary gland that are meant to manage pain in your body, and they can make you feel super satisfied when you crack a joint.
“Cracking your knuckles does no harm at all to our joints,” says Dr. Klapper. “It does not lead to arthritis.” ‘Cracking your knuckles does no harm at all to our joints.
It’s okay to crack your back every once in awhile, but if you do it habitually, you could be setting yourself up for potential problems. It’s also important to note that, if you feel the need to crack your back multiple times a day to help relieve pain or stiffness, you may not be addressing the root of your problem.
When you hear your sternum “popping,” you’re hearing the sternocostal and costochondral joints “click” or “ pop.” No one knows exactly what causes these joints to makes these sounds. In many cases, a popping joint isn’t cause for concern unless it’s causing pain, discomfort, or swelling.
Use an ice pack and an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. After the inflammation calms down, a heating pad or pack can help soothe muscles and connective tissue. If you have chronic back pain, sleep on a medium-firm mattress.
As a rule, painless cracking of joints is not harmful. However, common sense would generally suggest that the intentional and repetitive cracking of one’s joints not only is potentially bothersome socially but could also be physically troublesome when it produces pain.
Crepitus by cavitation:1,2 An audible pop or crack, which may occur during normal movement or when the spine is moved near its end range of motion. Cavitation can occur naturally with exercise or motion and can be induced by a health professional, such as a chiropractor, or osteopathic physician.