Does Your Back Really Need To Be Cracked To Get Better?


Hi everyone, how are you going? Karen Finnin here, Physiotherapist and Director of Online Physio.

So today I want to talk about the phrase that people use sometimes when their particularly their back is sore, and they say ‘I feel like it needs to be cracked’.

People get this concept that if they could just crack their back or just crack that area of themselves that everything would be instantly relieved and better.

Well I can tell you after 20 years being a Physio, a lot of that time in physical private practice seeing patients, that it tends to be the case that the people who feel their back needs to be cracked are suffering from restriction and tightness in their back.

So all of our joints have the ability to move and sometimes they stiffen up and that movement decreases.

That’s a signal often for our body to tell us that it needs something done to free up and move better.

Our body can then give us a feeling of tightness, that tightness can often be perceived as feeling like something needs to be cracked.

Now when we talk about cracking of the back often what we’re referring to is the noise that you do sometimes get when you move, and that is a joint just going through a natural normal movement.

The actual crack in itself doesn’t fix or change anything it’s just a signal of the movement in the joint.

If something used to crack when you were moving around and now it doesn’t, it’s a signal that things are stiffening up, so it’s not a crack that you need, it’s probably some stretching so the foam roller, some cross-training so rest from all the amount of stuff that you’re doing.

So this is the thing.

When you feel like your back needs to be cracked, it’s probably not what you need at all.

It’s assessing you, it’s seeing where the restrictions are, and it’s doing the right things to settle those down.

The side effect will probably be, that if it used to gently crack before when you moved, that crack will return once you loosen things up.

But know that a crack isn’t required to fix your back – a crack is a normal part of movement, if it’s done under normal pressure situations and that cracking of joints under high force or high thrust can often be dangerous, especially if all the structures in your spine haven’t been thoroughly assessed and imaged first.

So I hope that sheds a bit of light light on that feeling, that sense, that you need to crack your back to make things better.

It’s a signal that things need a bit of work, but it’s often not a single crack that you need to get better. I hope that makes sense.

If you’re unsure about this, do see your health professional and they can sort you out.

Thanks guys, I look forward to bringing you another ‘Body Myth’ again soon.



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