Your mum or dad might have fed you this myth because they were told it. Maybe they know it's bad to crack your own neck or back - but just don't know why. Or maybe they were worried your fingers are going to get too loose and fall off. The popping noise you hear isn’t bone cracking or rubbing on bone. It’s the creation (not bursting) of small gas bubbles in the joint. And although studies show there's no link between the cracking your joints and the stiff, painful joints that arthritis cause, we shouldn't indulge in our addiction anyway. Cracking your fingers, neck or back 5, 10 or 20 times a day, EVERY DAY could make your supporting ligaments lax. That's a recipe for trouble. 

So what about someone else cracking my back for me?

In case you're wondering, cracking your neck or back yourself is NOT the same as a certified chiropractor adjusting ("cracking") your spine. Chiropractors only adjust specific spinal segments if there is a combination of misalignment, movement restriction and nerve flow interference. The name given to this combination trio is a 'Subluxation'.  In order to perform a chiropractic adjustment, there are 5 considerations that are absolutely required to ensure the safety and efficacy of an adjustment. 

  1. Is this a primary (the body's priority) or secondary (compensatory) subluxation?
  2. What is the best position to deliver the adjustment?
  3. Which direction should the corrective thrust be delivered? (Is the spine rotated, tilted or shifted? Is it to the right, left, front or back? Or a combination?)
  4. What is the amount of correction required? 
  5. Are there any factors that contraindicate an adjustment? Are there any factors that obstruct, affect, or could negatively influence the quality of the adjustment? 

An adjustment, delivered by a chiropractor, is an ART, SCIENCE, and PHILOSOPHY. It's not the same as cracking your back over a chair nor is it the same as the barber who almost takes your head off when giving you a head massage. 

Be safe. Protect yourself. Only get adjusted by someone who is qualified, has examined and  understands your body and your health.

The Author: Dr Gary Tho is a chiropractor specialising in Pain relief and Peak Performance. He works with individuals and teams, be it in the corporate world or sporting arena. To request a workshop with Dr Gary, or a One-on-One consultation, please contact him here, or email him at DrGary@ .