Healthy Living

Healthy Living  >  General Wellness

Should You “Crack” Your Own Back and Neck?

  • Dr. Steve Young
  • 3 Apr, 2023

Many of us have heard that satisfying sound when we crack our neck or back, but have you ever wondered if it's actually good for you? While cracking your own back and neck may provide temporary relief, it's not a good idea to make a habit out of it. Here's why:

Risk of injury: Cracking your own neck or back can put you at risk for injury, especially if you do it incorrectly. When you crack your own neck or back, you're essentially applying force to your joints, which can cause damage to the ligaments, tendons, and muscles surrounding those joints.

Temporary relief: While cracking your own neck or back may provide temporary relief, it's not a long-term solution. In fact, over time, it can actually make your pain worse. This is because when you crack your own neck or back, you're not addressing the root cause of the pain, which could be something more serious.

Misalignment: Cracking your own neck or back can also cause misalignment in your spine. This misalignment can put pressure on your nerves and cause pain and discomfort. In some cases, it can even lead to chronic conditions such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease.

Addiction: Cracking your own neck or back can also become addictive. The temporary relief that it provides can make you want to do it more and more, which can lead to a cycle of dependence. This can be dangerous because it can lead to overuse and further injury.

Better alternatives: There are many better alternatives to cracking your own neck or back. Chiropractic care, physical therapy, and massage therapy are all safe and effective ways to relieve pain and improve mobility. These options address the root cause of the pain and provide long-term relief.

It's important to note that cracking your neck and back can be especially dangerous. According to the American Chiropractic Association, "the vertebral arteries, which run through the vertebrae of the neck, can be damaged by excessive rotation, hyperextension, or hyperflexion of the neck." This can cause a stroke or other serious injury.

In addition, cracking your neck and back can also cause damage to the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a crucial part of your body's nervous system, and damage to it can cause a variety of serious health problems.

Overall, it's not a good idea to crack your own neck or back. It might help temporarily, but it can cause long-term damage and pain that won't go away. Instead, think about seeing a chiropractor, physical therapist, or massage therapist for pain relief that is both safe and effective. Learn what you can do at home to help your musculoskeletal system in other ways. Your body will thank you for it.

Here are some solutions to try instead:

Gentle stretching can help improve flexibility and reduce stiffness in your neck and back. Some good stretches for the neck include neck rotations, neck tilts, and shoulder rolls. For the back, try knee-to-chest stretches or spinal twists.
Heat or ice therapy
Applying heat or ice to your neck or back can help reduce pain and inflammation. Use a heating pad or warm towel for 20–30 minutes at a time, or apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel for 10–15 minutes at a time.
Posture improvement
Poor posture can contribute to neck and back pain. Make sure you're sitting and standing up straight, with your shoulders back and your head aligned with your spine.
Regular exercise
Make your muscles stronger and more flexible to prevent pain in the future by engaging in low impact activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga.

Seek professional help. If your neck or back pain is persistent or severe, it's important to seek professional help. A chiropractor, physical therapist, or massage therapist can help you figure out why you're hurting and treat you in a safe and effective way.

By putting these tips into your daily life, you can help relieve neck or back pain and improve your health and well-being as a whole. Remember, cracking your own neck or back may provide temporary relief, but it's not a long-term solution and can actually cause more harm than good.


  • Haldeman, S. (2011). Neck and back pain. The Medical Clinics of North America, 95(4), 647-675. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2011.04.004
  • American Chiropractic Association. (n.d.). What is chiropractic? Retrieved from
  • Mayo Clinic. (2021). Back pain. Retrieved from
  • Harvard Health Publishing. (2021). The benefits of stretching. Retrieved from
  • University of Michigan Health. (n.d.). Heat and cold therapy for pain relief. Retrieved from
  • American Physical Therapy Association. (n.d.). Posture. Retrieved from