Is It Bad to Crack Your Back? We Asked a Chiropractor

Being on go mode at all times takes a toll on your body. Typing away at your computer or running around all day can result in an uncomfortable, achy feeling. You know how it goes: Your joints tighten up, and the urge to twist and turn to crack your back creeps in. You give in, and that familiar “pop” sound signals a soothing release. Your back feels a little better afterward. And every time your back tightens up, you crack it again in hopes of relieving the tension.

Is it bad to crack your back all the time? The short answer is yes. Treating your back to a crack is not the answer. If done in moderation, you’re less likely to experience dangerous side effects. We’ve all probably cracked our back every now and then, and we’re fine, right? However, becoming a habitual back cracker can actually make your joint pain severely worse.

A recent analysis conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that if you’re feeling pain in your lower back, cracking your back only helps with short-term pain and won’t cause any significant improvements. Things like this are better left to a professional. So we called on Todd Sinett, DC, a New York–based chiropractor and author of 3 Weeks to a Better Back, and Amanda Brick, DPT, clinical director at Professional Physical Therapy, to spell out signs you need to pay attention to if you find yourself having to crack your back way too often.

Chiropractors crack the code below. Read on for everything you need to know about this unhealthy habit.