How to Crack Your Back – Ask Doctor Jo

How to Crack Your Back – Ask Doctor Jo

Hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo, and today I’m going to show you how to crack your back by yourself, or as we call it manipulate your back. Let’s get started. This is an extra-special disclaimer. Do not crack or manipulate your own back if you don’t know what’s wrong with it. It’s really important that you talk to your doctor or your physical therapist to know that it’s okay because there’s certain diagnosis where you should not crack or manipulate your back. So make sure you have a diagnosis you know what’s going on. I actually recommend having your doctor or physical therapist do it first and make sure that you feel okay after it’s done because manipulations can really hurt your back you’re not doing it correctly and if you’re doing it when you have something where you should be doing it like a spondylolisthesis or pars effect, where there’s actually a fracture in there, you’re just gonna make it worse. So make sure it’s okay to do. Make sure you cleared by your doctor or physical therapist. Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer. Okay Are you sure you got it? We got the disclaimer out of the way? To start off with, we’re going to go from less cracks to a stronger crack, if that’s the way it works. A manipulation is when you’re actually realigning that spine. You can get an audible pop, but you don’t have to. You can feel the pop, but you don’t have to. If you don’t feel it, it doesn’t mean that it’s not realigning it. So to start off with, you can use a chair with a medium to low back. I like to take a towel to kind of give you some cushion there. If your chair already has cushion, that’s fine but if it’s something hard like this make sure you give yourself a little bit of cushion because depending on where you’re putting your back on there, it might be slightly uncomfortable, so I like to give myself a little bit of cushion back there. Start off kind of in the mid back depending on where you’re having that pain, or where you need to actually realign the back. And your doctor or physical therapist will tell you that. You can start off just by leaning back a little bit. If you put your hands on your head to support your neck, then you’re not irritating your neck because there’s no point in making your back feel better if they make your neck hurt, so make sure you’re supporting it and you’re being pretty relaxed. The best part of the manipulation is making sure that your muscles are relaxed because if you’re trying to manipulate it and your muscles are tight, you’re actually just going to make it more sore, so really try and relax the back. And then just go over the chair like this, and give it a little extra push back. Again you might not feel a pop, that might not quite be the spot. You can adjust yourself a little bit and then go back again so this is really for the mid-back trying to adjust it here, and then if you want to get really close up and let it go that way, and then just do a little push. Sometimes it also helps to take a deep breath in, and then as you’re letting it out, go back into the chair. So deep breath in, and then go back that way. After that you can then just use your hands when you’re doing the manipulation of the back. Like clasp your hands back here. What I like to say is it’s almost like a reverse Heimlich Maneuver because you’re doing the thrust up at an angle. So it’s not straight in, it’s kind of up at an angle where how your spine is lined up. So take it back there find the spot, you can just kind of grabbed like that, relax your back, and then push up and in to the spot. And then you can move it and then up in. If you want to go a little bit lower, up and in. So again, making sure that it’s not painful. It should never be painful. If it’s painful, stop immediately. That’s why it’s important to have your physical therapist or doctor do it because then you know it’s not painful when it’s done correctly. The next one’s going to be down on the ground using a foam roller which is a little more intense, so I would try these first and if those feel okay then you can use the foam roller. So when you use a foam roller, get down on the ground because you want the surface to be a hard surface so not on your bed. You actually need to be on the ground for this one. Make sure your knees are bent, don’t put them straight out because then that puts an extra curve in your back. So bend your knees, take the role and just place it kind of in the area where when you lie down on it, it’s going to get that spot on your back. And for this again, it’s a pretty intense feeling, so you want to try some other stuff first to make sure that feels ok. So come down, just start off find the spot where it is again hold onto your head to support your neck, and then just relax back into that spot. Now you might feel a pop there, some people like to roll on it a little bit. I think that’s a little bit intense, but you’re probably gonna get some audible pots with that. So again if you can relax your muscles, that’s the best way to do it, and then you can just roll on that spot a little bit. But my favorite way of doing it because the way our spine lines up and where those processes go out on the spine, sometimes your rotated a little bit, that’s how you’re out of alignment, so then it’s almost like instead of it being like this with those processes, it’s a little bit at an angle like that. So I like to put the roll at a little bit of an angle because then what that does is the top one and the bottom one, it rolls it and then it pushes it back into place. So I like to put it a little bit of an angle, and then still do the same thing, and again you can just relax back or then roll. And I actually got three or four pops with that one, and then you could switch it that way as well and go. So I feel like this actually gets it a little bit better into alignment especially if you have a rotation out of alignment versus just it needs some adjusting. So I like the angles a little bit better, and again make sure you talk your physical therapist about which way you’re supposed to do it. The last one is using your legs to get an extra pressure over to get that manipulation. A lot of people like to do it different ways, but my favorite way of doing it is lying completely down. The top part of your body needs to stay flat on the ground, then one leg goes down and then the other one staying bent comes up and over. And so keeping the top part straight, you can take the opposite arm and kind of put it out to make sure that shoulder stays down, and then some people like to take their hands on the top of the leg and do a little manipulation like that. But what I like to do, to get that little bit of rotation as well, is actually grab on my bottom area so that I can push down and rotate at the same time. So I’m taking a deep breath in, coming out, and then push and rotate at the same time. A lot of times you again you’ll get that audible pop or feeling it, but if you don’t that’s okay that doesn’t mean that you’re not getting that adjustment. Some people also like to hook their foot in the back of their knee, that’s fine too, or just placing it on top. If you hook it, then it will stay on there a little bit better so you can do that as well, but again grab and kind of on your butt area so you can push down and pull at the same time. So push and pull, and if you want to then go the opposite direction. So hook, keep that arm out, grab here, deep breath in, out, push and pull. And you might have been able to hear that one. So there you have it, felt good no pain. If it’s painful, don’t do it. Make sure your physical therapist or doctor has done at first, it feels ok, feels better after you do it. It shouldn’t then tighten up the back or feel really bad. It should feel good, loose, and you should actually feel in alignment after that. So if you have any questions, leave them in the comments section. If you’d like check out some other videos go to And remember be safe (make sure your doctor or physical therapist says it’s okay), have fun (get your back in alignment), and I hope you feel better soon.

100 Replies to “How to Crack Your Back – Ask Doctor Jo”

  1. I sometimes sit on a chair and kinda crack the bones near my butt, is that normal? Dont know where but i do that quiet often.

  2. I ruptured two discs in my lower back a few years ago, and every now and then it aches.. the muscles in my lower back overcompensate to protect my lower spine, and it ends up making my upper back ache. I always feel like I have to crack my spine at the bottom and the middle of my shoulder blades, but I can never get them to crack myself. I'll have to try these.

  3. Omg…. thank you. The pain in my lower back was getting so bad. I resulted to wearing a back brace and my knees were killing me from squatting to do everything. Sitting, standing, laying down were so uncomfortable. I tried every stretch and exercise to fix it but nothing alleviated the dull ache. Until it dawned on me it may be spinal pain and not muscular. I hooked my elbow under the couch and slowly (excruciatingly) rotated my knee over and when I thought I wasnt gonna be able to get my knee to my other hand, my spine released, and popped a good 5 times. Dropping my knee back into my typical flexible position on the floor. It probably dropped a good 4-5 inches. I did the other side too and got a couple pops. Thank God the pain is gone…. well other than my sore muscles from all the strain of dealing with the pain but that'll go away now. I feel silly now because I KNOW this is how to adjust the lower back but I just didn't know what I was doing wrong.

  4. Thank you for such a helpful video. I hav been doing the lying- on- ground- &- twisting-technique for years every day with couple of audible pops. I just felt heavy n tight without doing so. Now I am relieved nothing is wrong with my back. Will try chair one too.

  5. Hi doctor…. I have been having lower back pain since a month… I travel 5 hours in public transport daily and work on computer full day….I have back pain if I stand or sit or sleep for short or long time…. My back aches everytime…… Suggest me what to do? Will exercises help me?

  6. The doctor is gorgeous!!! She’s toning down her looks and figure for the sake of the video, but I can tell she’s a first round draft choice.

  7. 7:00 thats my favorite, I do it every night before sleep hahah also I like the sitting version of it, to do when I'm at school and I'd been sitting all day long

  8. Really hypeto see the video but the disclamer is for me hahahahaha lumbar hyperlordosis, but good video the exercices will more break my back tho👍

  9. I am really tall and my back and neck are always hurting. I do the chair method at school but right now I'm on break. My back is really irritating me and I don't have a low or middle chair at my house. I dont have a roller and it hurts when I use my hands. I am in a lot of pain right now and I don't know how much longer I can take it. I'm not very good at any other methods and nothing is helping. Also my knees are always popping whenever I move them and I can easily pop my thumb and when I put pressure on the back of my hand it cracks. Is that ok? Should I go see a doctor?

  10. I usually crack my back when I wake up and sit on the side of my bed. I just bend myself to look behind me and put my hand on the bed. It's sooo satisfying 😂. EDIT like the last thing she did but just sitting

    Other thing I do sometimes is I roll on the floor on my back. I grab my legs and just roll. It sometimes cracks my back but it still feels nice if it doesn't crack 😂

  11. when ever I do any kind of back stretches (including these ones) my back never audibly cracks, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

  12. Doctor Jo, what a fantastic video. Thanks to your guidance, my friend was able to crack her back at university. It also provided us with some entertainment!

  13. for me,
    i just lay flat on my bed, on my back- lift my legs up a little in a triangle form and move both of them to my left and then my right- while my upper body is in the same position.
    and then i'd hear lots of popping going on, on my spine/back.
    and it feels so good and satisfying

  14. Unbelievable, I have had lower back pain for months. I performed the laying on the floor exercise and it's gone. Than you so much!!

  15. I do the twisting one alllll the time and was worried that it was doing bad things to my back. Glad to know it’s alright, thank you!

  16. Love poppin all ma bones. Chair thing never worked for me but twisting my body works for my lower back. Upper back like up between my shoulder blades is where i have a problem. Very hard for me to pop that area :/

  17. Is popping always a positive thing? Sometimes I crack my neck for example, and it might end up sounding bad, and getting tighter or painful. I guess it just depends on when you do it.

  18. Worked Really Well! Tried It On My Brother And He Fell Asleep Directly! I Would Like To Try This On My Parents As Well… ☺

  19. I'm not sure if i have a problem or not, cause usually when i lay down on my back on anything, i can get a really bad upper back pain

  20. I normally find a flat waist height wall, then cross my arms then bounce sections of my back off the wall with some force until I'm satisfied at the pops

  21. Is the angled foam roller thing safe? I tried it and had some cracks and felt good but not sure if I'm risking anything.

  22. Ive been doing these cracks for years 😂 Learnt it by my own. As long as there is a sound of cracking, that's good

  23. Can you do these if you have rods in your back? I had a spinal fusion done due to severe scoliosis, they wanted to wait until I was finished growing but couldn't risk it so they had to do it immediately, because it was crushing my heart and lungs. I was 14.. I'm now 29 and im literally shrinking, pain is my companion, some days all I do is cry because I can't get out of bed. I would love to have that release, I crave antigravity! If I cannot do these ones can you try to help me find the right manipulation for me, Please!?

  24. Thank u so much for this i do landscape gardening I can always find people who are strong enough to pop my back for me.

  25. Any ideas: I have severe pain in my upper right back , when i tilt my neck to the left , the pain intensifies but when I raise my right arm above my head the pain gets relieved.

  26. The last one always causes pain on my right side and I get "stuck" in that position sometimes. Wish it would crack so it wouldn't hurt anymore. 🙁

  27. The last technique is great for lower back too if you have wide hips and large butt! My waist to hip ratio is typical “coke bottle/hourglass” and I’ve always have back pain! I can’t lie down flat at all (especially on my back)because curves the release feel great!

  28. I put my hands behind the chair together and stretch them (i dont push) and thats how i crack my back every day when im in school😂

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