Being a habitual people watcher, one thing that I see people do that makes me cringe is self-adjust, or crack their back. I know you have seen it. I even used to do it. Your neck or back feels a little bit uncomfortable… so you twist you back as much as possible to the right and then to the left, hear a pop and get “relief”. The same applies to the neck, and sometimes I even see people put tension on their chin in order to get that audible. It is a common thing to do when your muscles are tight or you are in pain. So the question is “are you getting real relief from popping? What is the real reason you are hurting?”

Before we address those questions, let’s look at the precursor or the cause of what is truly going on. What is actually causing the pain or discomfort that is prompting people to pop their back?

Let’s start simple. The brain is the computer of the body and tells all of the cells, tissues and organs what to do. The brain sends these messages to the body through the spinal cord. The spinal cord then sends the messages to the body via the nerves. The spinal cord is protected by the 24 movable bones that make up your back. Now the nerves exit to spine and go to every part of the body. They also cause you to feel pain and dis-ease.

Ok great, so how does that help me understand the cause? Well the 24 bones that make up the spine can shift out of proper alignment and not move sufficiently. This causes irritation and inflammation around the nerves coming out of the spine, interfering with the communication between the brain and these body parts.

I know what you are thinking. This is great! I can twist my back, hear a pop and get my bones moving again. Well I wish… but it is not that simple. The noise or feeling of twisting and popping your back does not indicate that any correction has been done. In fact, that sensation is simply CO2 entering and leaving the joint space and the relief will be temporary at best.

There is no relationship between sound (popping) and improvement in pain. In addition, when you pop your own back you can end up causing long term damage due to overstretching of muscles and ligaments supporting the spine. Unfortunately this can lead to loss of stability in the spine. There is also the possibility that it desensitizes the nerve receptors. Long story short….. popping your own back doesn’t fix the problem, it just cause long term damage which can lead to more problems.

So what is the solution? Chiropractors are highly trained to locate the bones in the back that are not moving properly. They can make an adjustment in the proper direction needed to align the bones so that they can move correctly without unnecessary strain being placed on the joint. With a proper adjustment, the motion in the joint is restored and the irritation and inflammation decreases, allowing the brain to send and receive communicating to and from the body. So before you turn to twist and pop your back, go see a chiropractor to get real relief today![/wr_text][/wr_column][/wr_row]

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