You’re already familiar with that stubborn feeling of tension and discomfort in your back — and you’d probably do anything to get rid of it. Trying to adjust your back on your own may be an obvious solution, but not the best one. Do you know what happens when you crack your back?
If you have no idea what the potential risks are, stick around. This article will try to explain why it would be best to go and see your chiropractor the next time this happens instead of fighting it off on your own.
What Happens When You Crack Your Back?
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You’ve probably never wondered how it is that your back releases cracking sounds while you’re self-readjusting it. If so, here’s how back-cracking functions.
One theory is that readjusting any of your joints releases gas. And if you’re now feeling baffled at what this gas may be, it’s time for an anatomy lesson. The area you consider your back is full of vertebrae — the small bones that form your backbone — and facet joints that lie between them. When you crack your back, you stretch these joints that contain what is called synovial fluid.
As you shift, the fluid gets to move around and also releases pressure on your other back joints and muscles. The movement of the fluid causes gas to build up inside and let out those cracking or popping sounds. And this strange occurrence goes by the name of cavitation or boiling.
Another theory also revolves around gasses that build up inside your joints. But this time, it’s about oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide that you end up letting out whenever you pop a tense joint.
What Are the Benefits of Cracking Your Back?
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When it comes to the positive side effects of popping your back, you might already be pretty familiar with them. For starters, cracking the joints in your back brings you immediate relief and soothes your discomfort and pain. Plus, you can resort to a self-adjustment of your joints wherever you feel the need, regardless of where you are.
After all, you’re always ready for some endorphin release. Yes, cracking your back facilitates the release of these chemicals whose role is to manage pain. Meanwhile, these neurotransmitters also bring out the immediate feeling of pleasure, which is what you’re after in the first place. Still, these benefits of cracking your back don’t mean you should resort to this technique — and here’s why.
What Are the Risks of Cracking Your Back?
All magic comes with a price, and so does popping the joints in your back on your own. However nice it might feel, cracking your back yourself might leave you with more problems than solutions. The truth is, it’s not that detrimental when you do it occasionally. But frequent self-adjustments of this kind can seriously damage your health.
You can accidentally stretch the ligaments around your spine, which will cause your joints to move more. As a result, your entire body will be supported by an unstable structure, potentially leading to further injuries.
For that reason, you might want to visit your chiropractor the next time you experience tension in your back. You’ll be able to hear the same cracking sounds, but the person adjusting your back will know which joints to move or align.
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