To crack or not to crack your BACK?

Do you like cracking your back or neck? Have you ever wondered if it is good or bad for you? Here is my take on it (hopefully I won’t make any enemies).

Let’s first talk about cracking your own back or neck. I don’t do it, and I don’t know any other physical therapists who do (I imagine there may be some who do). It is not necessary to crack your back/neck in order to move it normally. There are many alternatives you could do to improve stiffness in your back/neck (such as stretching, changing positions, doing exercises, sitting/standing up straighter). There are risks for injuring yourself when cracking your own back/neck, especially if it involves twisting.

If you regularly wake up needing to crack your back/neck, maybe you should adjust your sleeping positions. The same is true of any activity that causes you to need your back/neck cracked. Improving your posture/body mechanics could take care of that.

As far as getting your back adjusted by a professional, I do recommend it sometimes. Some PT’s perform manual therapy, including manipulations. However, we always teach exercises to maintain the benefit of the manipulations. And the goal of PT is ALWAYS to get you better so that you don’t need PT anymore! Be cautious of a health professional with any other philosophy.

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I am a Physical Therapist and Ergonomics Consultant, based out of Columbia, SC. My passion is to write about and speak about pain/injury prevention. I started Pain Talks as a consulting business in 2018.

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