Why does my back sound like it’s cracking and popping?

In the 1970’s, doctors thought that this was from bubbles popping in your joints. Today, some think it might be from oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide between the joints being released, similar to when you open a can of soda. Some think it’s caused by the negative pressure created when two joint surfaces separate and synovial fluid fills in the gap. The truth is, science still hasn’t shown what exactly it is.

Although the sound can be alarming, it’s not something to be too concerned about. It’s pretty normal for your back to sound like its cracking and popping. You should be concerned if its paired with pain. If you have both symptoms, here are some possible conditions you may have.

3 Conditions That Make Your Back Pop, Crack…& Hurt

Sciatica:

Sciatica technically isn’t a “diagnosis” and is more a description of a symptom, but it is treatable.

Diagnosis & Treatment

If the pain is traveling down your leg and feels like a bad leg cramp, or a shooting pain that makes standing or sitting nearly impossible, it is likely you have sciatica. Usually we treat this with a combination of physical therapy and injection based medicine. For more info on sciatica check out our blog!

Spinal Stenosis:

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal cord in the neck or the spinal nerve roots in the lower back are compressed.

Symptoms & Treatment

Symptoms of lumbar (low back) stenosis often include leg pain and leg tingling,weakness, or numbness. Arm pain is typically a symptom of cervical (upper back) stenosis.

At our office, patients with stenosis have done very well with physical therapy, chiropractic care, anti-inflammatory injections, or spinal decompression therapy.

Herniated Disc:

It’s easy to think of the disk as a jelly donut, with a softer center encased in a tougher exterior.

A disk herniation occurs when some of the softer “jelly” pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior.

Symptoms & Treatment

Herniated discs are very common. Our patients with this condition often have success with a combination of physical therapy, spinal decompression therapy, injection based medicine, and a couple other non-surgical treatment options.

To get your diagnosis and start living pain free, call us at 908-754-1960 or book your appointment today!