Heres An Important Primer On Your Spine
Before you understand what happens when you crack your back, you have to know a bit about your back itself. Down the center of your back youll find your spine, which you can think of as the scaffolding for the entire body, according to Cedars-Sinai Spine Center. Your spine protects your spinal cord, a bundle of nerves that transmit messages between your brain and pretty much every part of your body. With the help of vertebrae, or interlocking bones, it also supports about half the weight in your body. The average person is born with 33 vertebrae, but most adults only have 24 since some of the lower ones fuse together over time.
Your vertebrae are divided into sections: your cervical spine , your thoracic spine , your lumbar spine , your sacrum , and your coccyx . Your vertebrae connect with each other at the back via flexible joints, and rubbery cushions known as discs are in between each one to provide some cushioning. Finally, your vertebrae connect with muscles, ligaments, and tendons throughout your back to help you do everything from pound out Russian twists at the gym to lean over and whisper in someones ear.
Modify Your Workout To Be Low
Many people with back pain avoid exercise out of fear of making it worse. While it is true that high-impact movements can be tough on the joints and exacerbate pain, exercise strengthens your core and helps you shed extra weight two things that are vital in reducing back pain. You can modify almost any exercise to get just as good of a workout minus the impact! Even traditionally high-impact moves like jumping jacks and burpees have low-impact modifications. For a modified jumping jack, stand straight with your arms at your side. Move your right foot out to the side of your body while lifting your arms above your head. Bring the right leg back to start, and immediately bring the left foot out to the side of your body. Alternate back and forth, with no pause in between. Here are some other low-impact exercises to add to your routine.
Supine Foam Roller Stretch
Place a foam roller horizontally under your shoulders when lying on your back with bent knees. Interlace your fingers at the back of your head or stretch them to the side of your neck.
Using your heels as momentum to roll your body up and down over the foam roller and press it against your spine. You can roll up your neck and lower back all the way, or you can concentrate on your middle back.
You can arch your spine slightly if its convenient. Roll out 10 times in either direction.
Youre going to feel this massage and stretch it all over your back, and maybe youre going to get a few changes.
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Hip Pain After Chiropractic Adjustment
Its normal to feel hip pain after a chiropractic adjustment, although not everyone does. This is typically a soreness of the muscles or the joint. It usually begins within a few hours after the adjustment and lasts for 24 to 48 hours.
You can think of it as the soreness that comes after a workout. In that case, the muscles are sore because theyve been strained and are building back up to become stronger. Hip pain after a chiropractic adjustment is similar in that the pain you experience is a sign that the body is adjusting to its proper alignment after being misaligned for some time. Learn from my other blog post on how you can realign your hips.
An ice pack on the area for no more than 20 minutes can help with the pain. Your chiropractor may also recommend stretches that may help. If not, talk to him or her about ways to help prevent or lessen soreness in the future.
Adverse effects from spinal adjustments, other than soreness and minor aches, are extremely rare. I have written a blog post containing tips about the things you can do after a chiropractic adjustment. But, unfortunately, the old maxim, No pain, no gain, holds true here. Some people will experience mild soreness following an adjustment, but the benefits certainly outweigh the temporary discomfort in the vast majority of cases.
Gentle Back Popping Exercise
A gentle exercise to crack your back safely at home is to lay on your back and stretch your spine and back muscles. This can help to release tension in your back and help you pop your back by yourself. For this exercise, you will need soft padding on the floor like a yoga mat or carpet.
- Lay on your back, bring both knees up to your chest and hold your knees tight to your belly.
- Gently pull your knees to your belly and hold for 30 seconds to help gently stretch your spine and back muscles.
- Release and repeat 3-5 times a day to relieve back tension.
- To improve the effectiveness of this back exercise, you can gently rock to and fro while holding the stretch position.
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Doing A Trunk Rotation
Variation: Place your left hand on your right knee and pull it to deepen the stretch. Then, use your right hand to pull your left knee when you do the other side.XResearch source
The Type Of Sound Depends On Its Origin
Motion-related sounds from your spine are usually produced when you bend forward or rotate the spine.3 The sound can originate from one or more of the following structures:
- Facet joint capsule. Cavitation mostly occurs within your facet joint capsule and causes a crack or pop. This sound is produced when the air pressure within the joint changes suddenlycausing bubbles within the joint fluid to form and/or collapse.2,3 This sound is similar to the one produced when you crack your knuckles and is not a sign of joint injury or arthritis.
- Facet joint. When the facet joint surfaces become rough and do not glide smoothly, grating crepitus may be felt. This sound may indicate damaged cartilage in these surfaces resulting from arthritis. More advanced facet arthritis may cause bone-on-bone grinding.4
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The Benefits Of Cracking Your Lower Back
There are many benefits of cracking your lower back.
First, you need to understand what cracking your lower back is all about.
The joints contain pockets of gas which come from the synovial fluid lubricating the joint. The gases are visible on an MRI. When you crack the joint, these gases are released thats why you hear a crack or a pop.
Cracking your joints can release trapped gases in the joint.
Another benefit of cracking the back is that it eases pressure on the joints by stretching the surrounding ligaments and tendons.
Cracking the back is generally harmless. There are many myths that doing so can stunt growth and cause arthritis. Theres no evidence to suggest that any of this occurs due to back cracking exercises. However, as you get older, you may find it difficult to crack your back. In fact, doing so may even be painful. If it worsens your lower back pain, you may need medical help.
So how to crack the lower back by yourself? We list nine safe ways to do so.
What Happens When You Crack Your Back All The Time
According to researchers from Harvard Medical, your joints contain synovial fluid. The crack that you hear when you pop your back or knuckles is tiny bubbles bursting in the fluid. It seems that cracking joints all the time can be bad for you. Chronic joint cracking can lead to swelling and reduced strength in the joints.8
The journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research reported that cracking joints all the time can also lead to reduced range of motion .9
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Reach Out To Our Chiropractor In North Haledon Il For Hip Pain Relief
Here at Wolke Chiropractic, North Haledon, IL, we create a personalized treatment plan using highly effective, non-invasive methods targeted at your hip pain. Our natural treatments for hip pain help you avoid the risk and costs of medications and surgery. today to schedule a free consult.
Hip And Hamstring Tightness Solutions
Dr. McNally explains that stretching exercises act as the first line of treatment for hip flexor and hamstring tightness. You could start with gentle stretches that target these areas. He notes that there are a multitude of stretches that will help. The one that works best for the individual person is the one that they are comfortable doing so that they will repeat it enough to make a difference. He recommends warming up the muscles first to get the best results from the stretches.
An easy place to start is any kind of forward fold to stretch out the hamstrings. Stand up straight, or sit with your legs extended in front of you. Then, reach your fingers toward your toes . Dont bounce, but hold the position for a few seconds, then repeat five to 10 times.
For your hip flexors, high lunge, low lunge, or yogas Warrior I pose can all prove effective.
The Warrior I pose from yoga opens up the hip flexors at the front of your pelvis.
Then, if you are not seeing enough results from stretching on your own, you could progress to a guided stretching program with physical therapy. Dr. McNally explains, Stretching does not work for everyone, but it is the first step in the process and often the only one that is needed. He adds that surgery is reserved for cases that do not respond to supervised stretching.
In this situation, he would recommend:
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Hips Hamstrings And Lower Back Pain
Thomas A. McNally, MD, orthopedic surgeon and Medical Director at the Chicago Spine Center at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago, says, The tightness in the hip flexors and hamstrings can alter the this affects the way your spine lines up and can cause low back pain.
Youll find the hip flexors, a group of muscles, around the front of the hips. They go into effect as you move your leg and knee in an upward motion. The hamstrings are muscles in the backs of the thighs that help to flex the knees and extend the hips.
From the perspective of a doctor of physical therapy, Tony Matoska, PT, DPT, CMPT, Clinic Manager for Athletico Muskego, WI and Wisconsin Spine Specialty Program Regional Coordinator for Athletico, notes that tight hips and hamstrings are more likely to affect your lower back than your middle or upper back .
In addition to muscle tightness in the hips, Matoska notes that stiff hip joints can lead to lower back pain. A lack of rotational motion and ability to flex or extend your hip forwards or backwards can affect your walking, running, swinging, and twisting motions and increase mechanical strain on your lower back.
As for hamstring tightness, he explains that this can actually be a side effect of lower back pain. Pelvic position, muscle guarding, and weakness can contribute to your hamstrings feeling tight and be a result of someone’s back pain, he says.
Possible Causes Of Cracking Spinal Joints
There is no consensus on what causes joints to crack or on the potential long-term effects of frequent back cracking. The mechanisms that cause joints to crack or grind can differ from person to person. There are three primary theories about why facet joints crack, pop, or grind:
- Cavitation. Surrounding each facet joint is a capsule of liquid, called synovial fluid, that lubricates the joints and allows for smooth, comfortable movements. One theory on crepitus suggests that air pressure within the joint is suddenly altered when the joint is cracked, resulting in the formation or collapse of an air cavity in the synovial fluid that produces a popping sound.1
- Ligament or tendon snapping. When a tight or tense ligament is pulled across a surface of bone, cartilage, or another tendon or ligament, it can create a snapping noise similar to a joint crack or pop.
- Bone grinding. Deteriorated cartilage surrounding a spinal joint can cause popping, cracking, or grinding. Cartilage may wear down from overuse and/or age, causing the bones of the joint to rub together and produce a grinding sensation and a sound similar to a crack or pop.
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When Not To Crack Your Back
While cracking your back is a great way to ease discomfort, it is not always the best treatment.
Here are some indications when you should NOT crack your back:
- Swelling or redness along the back
- Acute, persistent, or severe pain
- Fever or chills
- If you are at a high risk of stroke
- During the third trimester of pregnancy
- If you have any numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs
Is Getting A Chiropractic Adjustment Good For Your Back
When it comes to cracking your own back, youre likely not going to hurt yourself, Dr. Asghar says, since youll instinctively want to protect yourself from harm. Heres a warning: When someone else does it for you, though, its a different story. The problem is that they may use too much force or move your body in an extreme direction, Dr. Anand says. You can hurt your back if they dont know what theyre doing, he adds.
Thats why its important to see a professional, such as a licensed chiropractor, physical therapist, or osteopath if you want someone to crack your back. Back manipulation can be safe with a qualified professional, Dr. Asghar says, and is one of many tools that can be used for chronic back pain. In fact, a 2018 study published in the Spine Journal found that spinal manipulation and mobilization was both safe and effective for lower back pain, specifically.5
If youre not sure where to start in finding a licensed professional, you can talk with your primary care physician or check out these online resources:
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Other Back Extension Exercises
There are several other back extension exercises for people who cannot kneel.
Here are the steps for them:
Prone Extension With Elbows Bent
- Lie down on the floor in a prone position.
- Interlock your hands behind the nape of your neck or hold your hands just behind the ears .
- Raise your head and shoulders from the ground.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
- Return to the starting position.
Prone Extension With Arms Straight
- Another variation is to extend your arms behind you, keeping them parallel to the body.
- Raise both the arms and legs from the ground.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
- Return to the starting position.
Popping Your Hips While Standing
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