Back discomfort and pain are common to millions of people. Sometimes all it takes to alleviate the aches is a good “pop,” while other times, you may need professional help.

Chiropractic therapy is a safe, effective way to relieve pain and even keep it from happening altogether when you work with your provider to take preventative treatment measures. One of these techniques is spinal manipulation, where your chiropractor will guide you through physical therapy modalities and then manipulate your spine to relieve pressure. This is also called “popping” your back for you.

If you can’t get to your doctor and your back is hurting, you might want to try adjusting it yourself. Popping your back without a chiropractor isn’t for everyone, but it is usually safe. Still, you should be cautious and do the research before you start giving yourself manual “pops.”

When you absolutely need to crack your back without your chiropractor around, follow these steps to be as safe as possible.

What NOT To Do While Popping Your Own Back

A common sign that you might need an adjustment is tension in your spine. It can feel like resistance keeping you from stretching or moving like you normally would. Popping your back when this resistance is there often gives you immediate relief.

But if you’re always feeling that tension, it’s a sign of a potentially bigger, underlying problem. Instead of cracking your back all the time and then ignoring the symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with a chiropractor to find the source of the discomfort.

Another time you should never crack your back is if it is usually painful. Even if it feels better afterward, the sign of pain is telling you there’s something else going on. Stretching until the gentle “pop” occurs is fine, but if there’s anything more than a slight discomfort, don’t crack your back yourself.

If You’re Going to Pop It, Do It Right

That magical feeling of relief you get with a “crack” of your back done right can be addicting. If you do it regularly and haven’t had a problem, it’s probably not a big deal if you continue the occasional pop.

Make sure you avoid chronic, habitual back popping, and never have anyone else help you. It may be tempting to ask your loved ones to step on your back and do a backwards pick up where your legs leave the ground, but those are both dangerous techniques.

A better way to pop your back is to try one of these stretches:

  • The Child’s Pose – This yoga stretch, also called the Cobra, is a simple movement where you sit on your knees and then lean forward, arms outstretched in front of you. As you flex as far as you can, your back may pop and relieve the pressure.
  • The Rocking Stretch – Another yoga movement, the Rocking Stretch involves sitting in a reclined position and bringing your knees to your chest. Hold them there for 15 – 30 seconds as you rock gently until your back pops.
  • The Sit-and-Reach Pose – One of the most popular stretches, the Sit-and-Reach pose is exactly what it sounds like. You sit down on a flat surface and reach your hands out in front of you as far as you can. Do this stretch until you feel the comfortable popping of your back.
  • A Slow Crunch – Crunches are recommended over sit-ups by many physical fitness experts because they’re better for your back. To do a slow crunch, lie down flat on your back. Place your feet on the floor so they are in line with your hips. Then bend your knees and cross your arms over your chest. Inhale as you squeeze your abs tight, then exhale and life your torso towards your knees. It’s a good exercise, but it also gives your back the stretch that causes relief.

If those stretches don’t work, bring in an exercise ball to help you. Start by sitting on an inflated large exercise ball. Keep it stabilized if you are not confident about your balance. Slowly move your feet forward and your body backward into a resting position. Use your knees to move your body until you feel stretching and, ultimately, get that “pop” you need.

When Popping Your Own Back Isn’t Enough, Call PhyxMe Physical Therapy and Chiropractic

An occasional back cracking for the odd discomfort is usually fine, but if your back pain is ongoing or you find yourself popping your spine frequently, you may need professional treatment. In the Chicago area, the go-to spinal specialists are found at PhyxMe Physical Therapy and Chiropractic.

Our experts can help you pinpoint the problem area, so your pain is relieved, and you know how to prevent it in the future. Call today to schedule an appointment and fix the problem at its source!