Spinal manipulation: Why you shouldn’t crack your own back and neck at home

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If you’re like most people, you may crack your own back and neck at home on a regular basis. We get it — life can be busy and movements can feel tight.

But here’s something that might surprise you – self-adjustments (aka. cracking your own back or neck) can actually be dangerous!

Here’s why you shouldn’t do it on your own and what to do instead.

But firstly…

What is spinal manipulation & how does it work?

Spinal manipulation is a type of therapy that can be used to relieve pain in the back and neck.

Spinal manipulation, also known as chiropractic adjustment, is an effective therapeutic procedure for relieving pain in the back and neck. This type of therapy focuses on using targeted force to massage and manipulate the spine and surrounding structures to improve joint mobility, reduce muscle tension, and increase range of motion. When performed by a trained chiropractor, spinal manipulation can lead to a significant reduction in chronic pain.


What are the benefits of spinal manipulation?

Spinal manipulation is an effective and safe treatment for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, such as neck pain, back pain, sciatica, and headaches. It can also be used to treat other ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome and fibromyalgia. Here are some of the main benefits associated with spinal manipulation:

  • Reduce stiffness in the spine, increasing one’s range of motion.
  • Improves blood flow to the joints and muscles, improving overall circulation and reducing inflammation.
  • Provides relief from chronic pain by reducing nerve compression and decreasing pain signals to the brain.
  • Improves posture and balance, which reduces risk of injury and development of chronic pain.
  • Increases flexibility by loosening muscles and tendons.


What are some side effects of spinal manipulation?

A chiropractic adjustment administered by a skilled professional is generally free of any side effects. If you try to perform spinal manipulation on yourself or on others without professional training, then side effects may occur. These may include soreness, muscle spasms, and temporary headaches. In rare cases, it can also cause damage to the spine or surrounding structures.


Why shouldn’t I perform spinal manipulation at home?

Self-adjusting your own back and neck risks potentially serious injury and can actually aggravate existing discomfort if you don’t know the proper techniques necessary for an effective chiropractic adjustment. Seeking professional help when dealing with severe physical pain is always your best bet!

If you’re not convinced, read on because we asked our experienced chiropractor, Dr Sharon Lai, to give us the lowdown. Here’s what she’s got to say!

Why do we feel the need to crack our backs & necks in the first place?

Dr Sharon shares that “there is an existing subluxation (misalignment) that is causing the muscles surrounding it to be tighter, which is why you feel the urge to crack it or self-adjust.”


So why can’t we “fix” that issue ourselves by cracking our back & neck?

“When you self-adjust, what happens is the top and bottom of the spine are the only areas that ‘crack’, it is not at the exact location of the subluxation,” Dr Sharon shares. This means that the root cause of your pain is not addressed. While cracking your own back or neck might temporarily reduce discomfort, the underlying subluxation is left untreated and can be seriously damaging in the long run.

Not only that, taking the matters into our own hands can cause more harm than good.

This is because “after a while, the tension at the area of misalignment starts to build up again, causing you to want to crack your own back more and more… Eventually, you will realise that the frequency of your self-adjustment increases.” This opens you up to increased risk of injury from self-adjustment and starts a viscous cycle with no long-term improvement.

Dr Sharon furthers, “when you crack your back so often, the joints actually become too loose. If this happens, muscles surrounding the loosened joints actually require increased muscle strength to hold it down and in place.” This adds to the detrimental effects of a self-adjustment viscous cycle and over-exerts your back muscles.


But why is it ok for chiropractors to adjust my back?

Firstly, chiropractors perform a thorough spinal examination prior to starting treatment to get a full picture of your spinal health. With their years of experience and expertise, they can identify exactly where any subluxations are occurring and can tackle the root cause to provide lasting and long-term results.

Secondly, chiropractic adjustments by a trained professional are targeted adjustments that only focus on the areas of misalignment and do not adjust other parts of the spine unnecessarily.

Last but not least, Dr Sharon also adds that “when we find out that you have a subluxation, we do not advise you to head in for adjustments everyday, but rather once or twice a week only. This is because your joints are not meant to be moved every single day.” And by creating a habit of self-adjustment, you will fall prey to over adjusting your joints. Following the recommended treatment plan of a chiropractor ensures that you get the relief you need but in a safe and controlled manner.

Through chiropractic care, chiropractors not only offer immediate relief but also teach effective ways to keep your back healthy in the long term. When you entrust chiropractors with your spinal manipulation, you can be sure that your body is in good hands. So the next time you feel like your back needs some extra TLC, consider letting a professional crack your back instead!


What can I do instead of cracking my back & neck?

Instead of indulging in self-adjustment, move towards stretching exercises whenever you feel the tension in your neck or back build up.

Based on your unique condition and spinal health, our chiropractors will devise a stretching and exercise routine for you to maintain the effects of chiropractic care and improve your back and neck muscles.


If you’re experiencing pain in your back or neck, book a spinal check-up with our experienced chiropractors

Remember, cracking your own back or neck at home can actually do more harm than good. It’s best to leave spinal manipulation to the professionals, who know how to do it safely and effectively.

At Chiropractic Singapore, we have experienced chiropractors who can provide a thorough evaluation of your spine and neck to pinpoint the source of your pain. Don’t suffer any longer – our spinal check-up is tailored to meet all individual needs and help you find relief rapidly. The chiropractic techniques used by our experts are safe and effective in relieving musculoskeletal pain. So if you’re feeling unexplained pains in your back or neck, make an appointment with us at Chiropractic Singapore and begin your journey towards improved spine health today!

Book your spinal check-up at our online exclusive rate of $50 here.

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