“I can pop my neck (or back) myself, so I don’t need a chiropractor.” If you’ve ever said this or something similar, you may need to hear why this misconception could be harmful to your health. The fact is that people who can—and do—crack their own back or neck daily (or even multiple times each day) may believe they are treating themselves with chiropractic care. In reality, they are not “adjusting” themselves the same healthy and effective way a chiropractor would.
First, it’s important to understand why the popping or cracking in your body happens at all. It has nothing to do with bones breaking, snapping, or being damaged in any way. Bones are connected by ligaments and muscles, and capsules of fluid-filled ligaments surround the joints between the vertebrae. If the capsules get stretched quickly, the pressure changes, causing the fluid to release nitrogen gas.
The effect is similar to opening a can of soda. The carbon dioxide dissolved in soda is kept under pressure in a sealed can. Once the can pops open, the pressure changes quickly and releases the gas with a noise.
Although the popping sounds in your body can be dramatic during chiropractic adjustments, it’s simply gas releasing from the ligament fluid, and it is normal and healthy.
When you crack your own back or neck, you end up needing to do it repeatedly because the pressure build-up and pain or stiffness starts again. Getting adjusted by a chiropractor in the correct way provides pain relief for much longer or even for good.
“We notice that once you get adjusted by us, you no longer have that pressure build-up in your back, and you stop cracking it yourself,” notes Dr. Rick Gross of Quality Care Chiropractic. “It’s not a matter of willpower to not crack your back. It’s that you don’t even feel the need anymore because we have trained your back to move so much better.”
A chiropractic treatment plan occurs with less frequency than doing it on your own. Chiropractic care may consist of adjustments as often as 3–4 times per week or as little as once per month. If you are cracking your own back daily or multiple times per day, that is too often to be considered a good treatment plan.
If you crack your joints frequently, you really should get checked out by a chiropractor to investigate or confirm the underlying cause of your neck or back pain. Most people believe it’s safe to crack their own spine, especially if they’ve done it for years.
However, your health is always changing, so you need to keep up with those changes and be aware of how you can be healthier each day. One week, you can be fine, but the next day or week or month, you may have a disc herniation or pinched nerve that can be exacerbated by the wrong kind of treatment. It is best to have checkups to look for other warning signs of health problems.
Next time you have the urge to crack on your own, or if you realize it could be a habitual problem, don’t hesitate to reach out for a consultation with us at Quality Care Chiropractic at (630) 499-2225. We’re here to help you get back to health.Schedule an Appointment