Thursday, June 11, 2015

Is Back “Popping” Helping or Hurting?

Back poppers know just how satisfying it can be to “crack” their bones after a long day. Maybe it’s first-thing in the morning, or maybe you let the neck pop on the fly – whenever it feels comfortable. It’s just a way to relieve stress. Those who don’t follow this practice, however, just don’t get the appeal. It might even make them cringe to hear others try and put their own bones back into alignment.

But who’s right? Is this practice helpful? Or is it potentially dangerous?

According to the experts, it might be the latter. Unless you know what you’re doing, spinal manipulation (where bones are adjusted, whether it’s by force or from the weight of your own head) can cause injury or nerve damage. Because the spine is so closely connected with the brain, it can bring issues later on in life. Therefore, adjusting should only be done by a medical professional. You can also choose a doctor that uses a tapping or thumping method, too, to avoid craning or increased pressure. 

It’s also noted that less damage is likely when popping joints or other bones in the body. Though there are common myths that say doing so can lead to pain or arthritis (the actual results of which are still controversial), there is not a direct link to the brain or neurological system. 

However, for many, popping is more than a habit, it’s a way to relieve pain. It also might naturally occur. Some joints move more freely than others, and a simple turn of the head might cause the neck or back to crack all on its own.

No matter your stance on cracking, it’s a good idea to become well informed on how it could potentially affect your health. Perform some research of your own, or reach out to your doctor about the pros and cons to popping joints.