T Nation

Back Cracking: Sometimes OK?

K long story cuz i think details are important.

I’m able to crack my lumbar, neck, knees, etc. But I avoid cracking the lower back cuz of what i read on here.

Last week doing deadlifts (which i do last) and re-racking the weight (relatively light 135 lbs) I thought i hurt something in my back, but i couldnt tell. My lower back was pumped cuz i was relatively new to the exercise. I decided to call the workout even though no pain - felt strange.

Next day, no pain, but i feel like one hip is like 1 mm lower than the other. I did my normal workouts all week, even deadlifted 10 lbs more, making progress throughout the whole week. I figure hey maybe deadlifters just walk around with alot of tension in their lower back and ass.

I mean the people i see deadlifting in my gym seem pretty retarded and this could explain it. I’m a nub so i dont really know what feels ‘normal’ and whats just years of couch potato ‘normal’.

Anyway last night i roll over, with my hips like 20 degrees behind my back. And I hear a low craaaaack. All of the weird sensations disappeared… The tinitis (ear-ringing) which i’ve had for years subsided and got really low.

My lower back loosened up instantly. Also, whatever very slight ‘fullness’ that i felt down there disappeared. Today I feel a little stiffness above my hip but it feels like the normal stuff that goes away like earlier when i land on my ass or do something dumb… normal pain not ‘bad back’ pain.

I did not intend to crack my back and did not have to twist much to do it, but it seems to have helped alot! Are we all sure that back (lumbar) cracking is bad for you?

I’ve been “cracking” up since I’ve been a kid and I’m still here. Usually after I release my back it’s feels better.

Use common sense though, don’t lay under a moving car or anything.

I also recommend you get some of your “cracking” done by a chiropractor. ANYONE lifting weights ought to be getting regular chiropractic treatment.

Basically the cracking of bones (cavitation) is still an unknown thing. It is believed that what happens is as two bony pieces move apart from each other, a negative pressure is built up in the synovial fluid (fluid in the joint cavity).

Because of this negative pressure, nitrogen is transfered into its gaseous state. The pop is the gas bubble popping.

It is not “bad” to crack your back. It is also not “good” to crack your back. What it is, is context specific.

It helps to have your back cracked under certain situations (clinical prediction rules: CPR)- often times abused by your common chiropractor.

I’m glad your back feels better. I am not aware of any existing long duration studies showing that it produces any negative long term effects, but personally I try not to crack my own.

Hope that helps.

sounds like a psychosomatic adventure to me. i pulled 435 recently at 190 bodyweight which i consider a lower-intermediate level of strength and i dont walk around with any tightness or strange ringing in my ears or feeling like one hip is 1mm lower than the other (wtf?)

if cracking your back gently feels good i say go ahead. personally i like to decompress my back by hanging off a chinup bar or the power rack and relaxing my abs and back muscles. my back cracks a few times when i do this as it decompresses.

just chill the fuck out and focus on pulling more and stretch your body out in ways that feel good and adhere to common sense. it’s good that you are paying attention to the cues your body gives you but don’t take it too far and psych yourself out.

Even in the chiropractic community there is debate as to whether the actual cracking is necessary to accomplish a change in function of the motion segment. Who knows?

It’s probably not a good idea to purposefully wrench your spine around to get it to crack, but if you happen to wiggle right, it cracks and you feel better, it’s probably no big.

I remember one time I did something that made my lower back feel “tight” and I wound up doing some Russian twists, cracked the heck out of my back and felt much better, so I guess I don’t know what the moral of the story is.

Ironically, now that I’m much stronger and have better deadlift form, I never have that problem.

[quote]Tagio wrote:
sounds like a psychosomatic adventure to me. i pulled 435 recently at 190 bodyweight which i consider a lower-intermediate level of strength and i dont walk around with any tightness or strange ringing in my ears or feeling like one hip is 1mm lower than the other (wtf?)

if cracking your back gently feels good i say go ahead. personally i like to decompress my back by hanging off a chinup bar or the power rack and relaxing my abs and back muscles. my back cracks a few times when i do this as it decompresses.

just chill the fuck out and focus on pulling more and stretch your body out in ways that feel good and adhere to common sense. it’s good that you are paying attention to the cues your body gives you but don’t take it too far and psych yourself out.[/quote]

I agree.

I think it is a great thing to be able to listen to your body and understand how it feels, but sometimes people just over think things.

Common sense is key.

If it’s cracking, you probably have tight paraspinal muscles from trigger points. Try loosening them up with a tennis ball against a wall.