As a chiropractor, I get asked this question all the time. Is it okay to ‘crack’ my own back or neck? The short answer is no, and the long answer is still no. Patients regularly tell me that they are able to ‘twist their own back or neck to manipulate their own bodies.’ When patients refer to ‘cracking’ they are referencing the noise often associated with a joint manipulation. While this DIY (do-it-yourself) version may result in the same noise, it is not achieving the same goal as a manipulation performed by a chiropractor (or other certified healthcare practitioner). Let’s take a look at this a little further to find out why.
A joint manipulation is a procedure commonly used by chiropractors to help restore movement and function within a joint or group of joints. It may be accompanied by a ‘pop’ or ‘crack’ noise, which is simply the release of gases from the joint space. A joint manipulation is highly skilled and requires lengthy education to be able to effectively and safely perform it.
A DIY version is not recommended as there are increased risks associated with that. To start, the general public does not hold the proper education, training, or specialized skills to safely and effectively manipulate a joint. Chiropractors are highly skilled and educated to perform such procedure. A skilled chiropractic manipulation targets joint restrictions and aims to be as specific as possible with the least amount of adverse side effects. When attempting to do this yourself, an excessive and uncontrolled twist of the spine is applied with too much rotation. These adverse side affects that are increased in the DIY version can be pain, muscle tension, or local inflammation.
Additionally, when attempting to manipulate own bodies you might only notice temporary relief, if any. This is due to the fact that the DYI version lacks specificity and therefore the problematic areas are not effectively addressed. This leads to an overwhelming need for you to repeat this multiple times in the day for more relief, further leading to habitual behaviour and unnecessary repetition. When a chiropractor manipulates a joint, the correct structures are effectively and safely manipulated and the urge for self-manipulation will decrease.
As you can see, there are important reasons why you should leave the joint manipulations to a trained health professional such as your chiropractor. For further information about manipulations or other health concerns, please refer to a registered health professional. Dr. Elysse Pilon is accepting new patients and would be happy to discuss any of your healthcare needs!
Author: Dr. Elysse Pilon, B.A. Kin (Hons), D.C., C.Ac
Chiropractor | Acupuncture Provider | Paediatrics | Custom Orthotics
Please note that this is for educational purposes only and not intended as specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns make sure to consult one of our knowledgeable health practitioners at Lawrence Park Health Clinic.