What Happens To Your Body When You Crack Your Back

There's nothing quite like the satisfying pops that come with cracking your back. But what exactly is going on in your body that causes those sounds, and is it safe? Turns out, generally, cracking your back is not going to cause any harm (via Healthline). Nothing is in fact cracking, splintering, or breaking. While medical experts aren't exactly sure what causes the cracking or popping noises, it is believed to be the result of the joints releasing gas as they are adjusted.

While occasionally cracking your back at home is totally fine, it's best to leave back — and neck — cracking to a professional (via Keck Medicine of USC). Risks of adjusting your back by yourself include pinched nerves, muscle strains or tears, stretched back ligaments, and injured blood vessels. Unless a person is a professional chiropractor or licensed to adjust joints, they shouldn't adjust your back for you. Cracking your back should not cause pain. If it does, see your doctor.

How to relieve back pain

There are other remedies you can try at home to relieve back pain that don't involve cracking your back. One of the most important things you can do is to get some exercise. "Patients who rest often fare worse," says pain management expert Robert Bolash in an article on the Cleveland Clinic's website. "Try to keep moving and walking around as usual. Movement relieves pain and strengthens your muscles, helping you prevent a future episode of pain."

You could also try applying heat or ice. If your pain is just starting, it's best to apply cold packs. If swelling and inflammation is subsiding but you still feel pain, a hot bath or heating pain may help you find relief. Certain yoga positions, such as child's pose, can also help ease back pain. Finally, since stress can lead to muscle tension, finding ways to relax may help. You may want to try deep breathing, meditation, or relaxation training.