The race to earn money has got you off the chair, and you work endlessly. At this point, every joint in your body is wants to take a break, but you still decide to carry on. Then suddenly, your reflex causes your back to crack, and voila, this is the best that your body has felt. Why is it that cracking your back feels so heavenly, especially after you have had a tiring day? I’m sure you’ve heard constantly from every other person that it’s not ideal for your bones. Is it medically recommended? Does it cause future orthopedic problems? Let’s dig in and answer these questions!
No, there’s no medical evidence that cracking your back causes any significant side effects. According to certain studies, occasionally cracking your back relieves pressure as well. However, excess of everything is terrible, and if it’s done in excess, then cracking your back can cause your spine’s alignment to change, potentially leading to premature breakdown.
Why does your back crack?
Have you ever wondered what happens inside your body that gives out these pop sounds? The popping sounds occur between the joints, and scientists to date are still unable to tell the exact reason for your back or any other joint to crack.
However, there are many reasons that health professionals believe that your joints can crack. One of the principal reasons is the bursting of bubbles (that are made up of gases) between your joints’ empty spaces.
When due to outside forces, tension is created between your joints. It results in a considerable accumulation of synovial fluid, enabling the bubbles to burst, resulting in that popping sound.
Another theory says that often gases like nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and oxygen form between your joints, and when given pressure, it releases, causing popping sounds.
Why does it feel so good to crack your back?
One primary reason for feeling so good is the release of pressure that has been built up over time, like sitting at your office desk for hours.
Similarly, sitting in a pose that is bad for your back can result in misalignment of your spine. The structure is straightened by cracking your back and moving back to its original place, creating that relief feeling.
Another explanation is that when your back cracks, it causes your pituitary gland to release endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that are responsible for happiness and relief. These chemicals give you relief from pain.
Yet another explanation is that it has psychological aspects and is a placebo as one person must have identified it as pain or pressure relief. Whenever that trigger clicks into place, it releases a stimulus of feeling relaxed.
Note: This applies to other pressure points such as your neck or wrists. Osteopaths use various techniques such as massage to release the stress. Bad posture can cause your joints and muscles to be stiff. This results in immense pain, and if it is not dealt with for a more extended period, it causes permanent lousy posture resulting in more pain for an even longer duration. Osteopath creates tension in your joints, causing your back to crack and resulting in instant pain relief.
Better ways to prevent back pain
Cracking your back isn’t the best way to release tension and pressure between your muscles and joints. Check out some of these other methods you should consider.
Doing back exercises
These exercises include:
- Knee to chest exercise. You need to lie down on the floor and keep your legs straight, then slowly lift your right knee with the help of both of your hands up to the chest, hold your knee with your chest for about 20-30 seconds, repeat this 3-4 times. Similarly, do this exercise with your other leg.
- Pelvic twists. Again, lie down on the floor with your legs contracted and feet flat on the ground for this exercise. Put pressure on your stomach, similar to preparing for a punch, breath in and out, and staying in this position for about 10-15 seconds.
- Bridging. For this exercise, lay down on the floor. Slowly lift your back with your heels’ help and lift it till your back, head, and neck are straight. Stay in this position for about 6-7 seconds and slowly get back to the normal position. Repeat this process about 8-10 times.
Correct your posture
Fundamental postures to correct are how you sit on a sofa or your office chair, especially in the places where you have to sit for a more extended period.
Your back, head, and neck should always be in a straight position.
Getting good rest
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for the body. Lack of sleep causes fatigue in muscles and joints, which can cause severe pain. Similarly, an excessive amount of work can cause your muscles to get fatigued.
Moreover, it would help if you got a good quality orthopedic approved mattress as this is one of the significant reasons for discomfort in the back and neck.
Maintaining a balanced diet
A balanced diet is essential. A diet full of vitamins and calcium is much needed.
Milk, fresh fruits are a must.
Manage your weight
Too much pressure on the joints can cause tension, and thus the pressure on them can cause them to damage and even cause diseases such as arthritis slowly.
Your weight should be within the average BMI. It can not only help in the avoidance of joint or muscle related pain but also in many more spheres of body and health.
Stress can be a major reason for your muscles to be tired, which can also hamper joints.
Which is better, an osteopath or a chiropractor?
The major difference between an osteopath and a chiropractor is that the chiropractor mainly focuses on muscles and joints. In contrast, an osteopath deals with the whole body and has a holistic approach.
This is why the osteopath might not be the best option if you are looking for a solution to your muscle and joint problems, as it does not have a focus approached.
However, the risk of worsening your situation with an osteopath is much less than with a chiropractor.
Is it harmful to crack other muscles or joints?
I mentioned earlier that cracking your back isn’t always harmful and, in moderation, can be better. Similarly, cracking your knuckles or fingers also does not have much harm.
Joints go back to their original position, and similar to the back, they can provide you with some pressure relief. Although cracking your knuckles does have a negative social impact, as this could mean that you are expressing anger, so remember not to do it in public.
On the other hand, cracking your neck has much more harm than any benefits. The neck is one of your body’s most sensitive parts as there is a concentration of nerves present around this area.
In most cases, a layman does not know how to crack the neck correctly, so in turn, what they can do is damage a nerve ending, which can result in immense pain for a longer period.
The pain caused by the damaged nerve ending is so great that you won’t even be able to move your head. So it’s better not to do it yourself and consult a professional instead.
Excessive popping or cracking of joints can result in pain and also cause the tendons between the bones to slowly wear off, causing discomfort and cracking sounds each time you move them. Moreover, if you already have joint diseases like arthritis, excessive cracking can make it worse.
Throughout this article, we have learned that cracking your back in moderation can remove stress and pressure. Popping sounds while cracking your joints does not have to do with bones colliding or any health concern, while it is the bursting of bubbles made up of gases.
It is essential to correct your posture, maintain a disciplined sleep routine, and manage your diet and exercise regularly to avoid back problems. Your muscles and joints need to have rest.
Taking medical help in managing your muscle-related discomfort is the ideal choice.