You either do it yourself or know someone who enjoys the relief they get from popping their own neck or back to relieve the tightness in their spine. The intense stretching followed by the popping sound is so satisfying for a lot of people. This usually gives them temporary relief from the tightness and soreness in their neck and back. You ask, what is the popping sound and does it cause you harm? The answer is yes and no.
When you crack your back, you are not actually cracking your bones. The popping sound with joint manipulation is simply a gas being released from the joints. To understand what your body is going through the adjustment, I will explain the physiological zones. The physiological zone describes both the passive and active range of motion until a soft, elastic end feel is felt. The paraphysiolgical zone occurs after the physiological zone but before tissue disruption occurs in the pathological zone. This is the zone where manipulation of the joints takes place. The paraphysiological zone occurs just past the passive range of motion, where a quick force in the joint produces the audible pop that is heard with adjustments. Trauma or too forceful of an adjustment can put a joint in the pathological zone, causing injury to the surrounding tissues.
In chiropractic care, we focus on the joints that are not moving well, (hypo mobile joints). When we adjust the hypo mobile joints, this helps them move properly again. Self-adjusting typically affects the hypermobile joints. In hypermobile joints, the ligaments gradually develop laxity allowing the joints to move to easily. In response to the hypermobility, the muscles surrounding the joints tighten up to help stabilize the area. When the muscles are tight, this creates the need to crack the joint over and over again. This creates a temporary relief for the joint, but creates the need to keep popping the joint.
A chiropractor is a trained professional that use a physical exam and x-rays to make a specific diagnosis before performing an adjustment. If you are feeling the need to crack your back, it may be sign that your spine is out of alignment and that you need to see your chiropractor. In short, occasionally self-adjusting your back is not bad. The long term cracking can cause hypermobility in the joints.
For further information on chiropractic care contact Northwest Wellness in Federal Way, WA 2539270660.