We have had patients ask this question before, or have had patients state “I can crack my own [insert body part here.]” As accomplishing as it feels to hear the *pop pop* noises when you self-release at home, did you know that it’s not the same as when you come in to see your chiropractor?
We are neuromusculoskeletal experts, which is a big fancy way of saying that we learn everything about your nervous system, muscles and bones. We are trained to feel and locate areas of the spine which may not be moving as well as other spinal segments. This area that we locate may feel blocked, restricted and/or painful when we find it. This is a hypo-mobile segment. Hypo: meaning below normal and mobile: meaning movement. This is the segment which would receive a high velocity, low amplitude (very quick, but gentle) adjustment from your chiropractor to get the muscles around it to relax and to restore motion to that hypomobile segment. Still following us, right? This is where the “a-ha!” moment comes.
When you have a hypomobile segment, the segments directly ABOVE and directly BELOW compensate for the hypomobile segment not moving effectively. These two segments above and below become hyper-mobile. Hyper: meaning above normal and mobile: again meaning movement. These are segments that are moving a little TOO well and can be adjusted very easily. So when you’re sitting at home and decide to “crack your own back” it’s most likely that you are hearing *pop pop* noises from these already hypermobile segments and not the hypomobile segment which actually needs the TLC.
We hope this information helps to shed some light on this question! Similarly to other profession, for example the dentist-you brush your teeth but still go to see your dentist… we are here to help share our knowledge and expertise on how to help you. Spinal segments that may not be moving well are only a small part of a much larger equation. We have a huge toolbox to help you get moving and feeling your best. Whether that be with soft tissue therapy, mobilizations, stretches, rehab exercises… we never just aim for a quick *pop pop* in our clinic.