Back cracking is a very spontaneous act when you stand up after sitting for too long. Imagine you’re squeezing your glutes to hear that pop & crack sound. Feels good, doesn’t it?
But why does the back cracks when I squeeze my glutes? Is it dangerous?
The answer is generally “No”. In fact, no such cracking of the bones occurs. Rather, it’s the result of some gas release mechanism which is termed “crepitus”. This rapid release of gas gives you a feeling of joy & relief. This starts from within the joints and ends with a satisfying cracking sound.
This small portion may not answer all of your “ifs” and “buts”. But hold on, we have a long discussion ahead. So, please proceed further to know all the details.
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Why Does This Cracking Happen?
There is synovial fluid in the joints of our body. This fluid does an amazing job by working like a lubricant and shock absorber. This fluid minimizes the friction effect of bones and saves us from various discomforts.
Sometimes gas gets entrapped in this fluid. So, when you stretch your body, this gas is released. Eventually, it causes that cracking sound. It’s more like air bubbles popping.
There are other reasons as well. The bony segments of the spine sometimes get misaligned. It can happen due to several degenerative conditions. This also causes a cracking sound.
However, theoretically, it is called “crepitus” and it’s a broad terminology. Now we’ll get to know about that.
Crepitus: What is It?
Crepitus refers to the cracking, crunching, or popping that occurs due to the movement of joints. Although crepitus develops more with age, it can occur at any time.
There are some common causes of crepitus. These are-
- The popping of air bubbles which doesn’t cause noticeable pain
- Tendons, ligaments snapping over joint structures. This can cause pain sometimes.
- Osteoarthritis (Painful)
Crepitus is not something that you should be concerned about. It’s a regular phenomenon. However, if there’s any pain, then you should be careful and take the necessary steps.
How Does Back Cracking Occur?
Some popular theories are going around about the occurrence of back cracking. But let’s chalk out the two most common ones.
Synovial Fluid and Pressure
When you crack your back, squishy capsules around facet joints are stretched. Thus it allows the synovial fluid to move around freely covering a larger space. This releases the pressure on the back joint.
After pressure release, the synovial fluid transforms into a gaseous form and generates a cracking sound.
Other Gases and Pressure
Some experts say that gasses like Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, and Oxygen can build up within the joints. This can happen due to misalignment of the joints or poor postures like sitting for too long.
So, when you stretch your body, the gas is released. That’s when the popping or cracking sound is heard.
Reason Why It Feels So Good
The cracking noise does give a pleasant feeling most of the time. But why does it feel so good? There are reasons for that.
We all know that our hormones control a large portion of how we feel towards anything. When we crack our back like this, endorphins are released. The release of endorphins creates a satisfactory feeling in us. This is why we feel so good after cracking the back.
Another reason is more psychological than physiological. Our brain associates this cracking sound with a sigh of relief and a relaxing mechanism. Thus it makes us feel so good.
Back Cracks When I Squeeze My Glutes: Risk Factors
We all know that back cracking gives us a satisfying feeling. But there are also some risks associated with it. Forcefully stretching your body to crack the back can bring harmful consequences. Some of them are-
Stretching your body too quickly or forcefully can cause this. Pinched nerves can be painful and it limits your mobility. Normal movement is hampered and professional treatment is needed in some cases.
Forcefully stretching your back can strain or tear the muscle. This can hurt a lot. Complex situations might need surgery to recover. That’s why it can be dangerous if it’s done unusually.
Frequent back cracking can cause the ligament to stretch back permanently. This can make you suffer from osteoarthritis as you get older. It damages the overall stability of your body.
Injury of Blood Vessel
If you crack your back too much or too hard, it can injure blood vessels. Injured blood vessels can be dangerous. Because many of them are connected with the brain. So, this can potentially cause blood clotting.
Blood clotting can result in brain stroke or other brain injuries. So, this is dangerous.
So, these are some of the risk factors for back cracking.
Some Safe Ways to Crack Your Back
Despite a few risk factors, you can still crack your back safely if you know the tricks. So, here are some ways to crack your back safely.
Knee to Chest
Lie on your back and use your hand to pull your knee towards your chest. Do it with one knee at a time. Keep your back in a relaxing position while in the process. You can practice this twice or thrice a day.
Rotating Lower Back
Lie on your back and bend up your knees. Rotate your hip on one side allowing the knee to touch the ground. Keep it still for some time and then return to the previous position. Keep your shoulder unmoved in the whole process.
Using these tricks you can crack your back safely and you won’t have to worry about hurting yourself.
Allowing Others to Crack Your Back
You may wonder if you should ask others or allow others to crack your back. Usually, it’s not a problem if the other person is a professional.
Professionals know how to make this cracking safe such as physical therapists and chiropractors. But lack of expertise can lead this cracking into a dangerous act. So, don’t let others crack your back unless they know how to do it.
In short, it’s better if you crack your back on your own. Because you can control your movement and feel the limit of stretching.
Controlled back cracking doesn’t cause any pain. Still unexpected occurrences like back pain, lower abdominal pain can happen. If you feel pain after stretching your back, don’t hesitate to consult a physician. They will let you know what to do later on.
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Cracking your back occasionally or once a day doesn’t create any problem. Forcing your body unnecessarily for stretching brings dangerous consequences.
Besides, exercising regularly keeps your body reflex great. That makes your body react to these stretches normally. So, generally, it’s not something you should worry about.
Why does the back feel like it needs cracking but it won’t crack?
When this happens, the stretched areas are naturally adjusting your joints. And it doesn’t need forceful twisting. So, allow some time to feel relieved again. Or else, if you keep forcing, you might hurt your back.
Is cracking your back with a chiropractor helpful?
Cracking your back with a chiropractor improves joint motion. Thus it improves your nerve signals to work better. So, it is helpful.
Can sleeping on the floor straighten the back?
Yes, sleeping on the floor can help to straighten the back. A hard surface helps to align the neck and spine. That’s why sleeping on the floor can potentially help to straighten the back.
We’re at the very end of back cracks when I squeeze my glutes discussion. Hope you got to know all the ins and outs of it.
Try to take back cracking as normally as you can. And don’t force your body to stretch unusually. That’s all for this time. Take care and have a nice day.