Is it bad if I pop my own neck or back?

"Is it bad to pop my own back or neck?"

We regularly hear patients ask..."is it ok if i pop my own neck?"
There is not a huge body of research on the subject but there are some considerations and differences between a chiropractic adjustment provided by a doctor of chiropractic and self "adjusting"...

To start off, according to this case study (
click here) "cracking" your joints has been shown in research to NOT correlate with the development of arthritis...whether the adjustment is performed to self or by a professional.

What Is the popping sound?

The popping sound is a result of gas formation within a joint and not necessarily the result of restored motion to a restricted joint or the realignment of a structure.  When Doctors of Chiropractic adjust the spine, the intention is to provide restored motion or proper alignment to a specific structure. In contrast, when "self adjusting", the joints that pop or crack are often joints that are already mobile and the restricted joints or misalignments that actually need adjustments are often not corrected.  A person may feel relief due to endorphin release from popped joints; but, more often than not, the discomfort that led a person to pop their joints returns in short order.  Which is why, most people who "pop" their own neck or back tend to do so frequently.

Safety is another concern when patients speak of popping or cracking themselves. If a person hears and feels some pops and cracks when stretching with controlled and slow motions, it is actually a good thing and considered generally safe. It is considered a good thing because it means your body has good motion. There are a few things to avoid when considering the safety of "self adjusting."  

Things to avoid

  1. The first thing to avoid is FAST, UNCONTROLLED MOTIONS toward end range of motion; serious injury to muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels may occur with the most serious potential injury to self being death due to stroke. This means do not toss, twist or leverage your head around in rapid fashion to get your neck to crack; do not rapidly twist your low back beyond a normal stretch to get it to crack.
  2. Another big "no, no" of "self adjusting" is that a person should NEVER USE THE JAW AS A LEVER when stretching or attempting to pop the neck. Serious damage to the TMJ is very possible with this practice. TMJ issues can have serious side effects including pain, difficulty eating and talking and can be very difficult to treat and heal from. It is not worth trading minor or short term relief from neck discomfort for a potential life time of jaw issues.
  3. Frequently we see people get their friends give them a bear hug that sometimes includes a dropping motion in order to have their mid backs cracked. There is risk of a broken rib with this technique and, again, the probability of actually releasing the restricted segment that needs and adjustment is low with this maneuver.

is it bad if i pop my own back or neck gallatin valley chiropracticTherefor, it is probably best to let your well trained and educated Doctor of Chiropractic handle the adjustments; and, be comfortable knowing that your are generally safe if you happen to pop or crack your body with some controlled, slow stretching.  

if you have discomfort that does not resolve with controlled stretching and regular exercise. Make an appointment today at Gallatin Valley Chiropractic by calling or go online!

Gallatin valley chiropractic, is it safe to self pop, self adjust, self crack your own neck.

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