Have you ever twisted your back only to hear a resounding crack echo from your bones? Perhaps you just woke up or stretched your arms a little? No matter the reason, a crack emanating from your back can be quite alarming. It can put you on edge and make you wonder why your back cracks so much. But don’t worry, as distressing as it may seem, a cracking back is nothing to worry about — at least, not in most cases.
Is It Normal For Your Back To Crack?
Yes, it is completely natural for your back to crack and pop. In fact, you can crack your back every 20 minutes since the joint takes that time to move back to its original position. However, even if it’s not a cause for concern, it doesn’t mean you should go ahead and constantly pop your back muscles.
Overworking your muscles and ligaments can lead to severe damage down the road. But overall, a cracking back is not something to worry about. That is unless there is severe pain associated with the cracking. If you feel any sort of discomfort, do not wait. Contact a rheumatologist immediately.
Why Does My Back Crack So Much?
The cracks you hear are nothing more than air bubbles caught between your spinal joints. Thus, these bubbles can pop when you move or stretch, leading to a loud cracking sound.
So, every time you move or shift your body’s position, you’re altering the pressure levels between each vertebra in the spine. This is why your back tends to crack so much; it’s just letting out the trapped air bubbles from within.
Not to mention, in medical terms, the cracking sound is referred to as ‘crepitus,’ and it has two primary types, including:
- Cavitation Crepitus
Painless in nature, cavitation crepitus is a loud, audible cracking sound that is usually heard after common spinal movements. It marks the end range of motion, which means your spine cannot be further extended than that.
- Arthritic Crepitus
Also known as osteoarthritis, the sound of this crepitus is more like a snap or tiny click. At times, there may be slight pain associated with it. A case of arthritic crepitus can feel like your vertebrae are grinding against each other, especially since this occurs due to everyday wear and tear.
The Culprits Behind The Cracking Sound
If your back cracks from the smallest movement, it is likely cavitation crepitus. In this instance, you need to blame the following parts of your body for the startling sounds:
- Connective Tissues
In the case of a vertebral muscle spasm, your connective tissues can turn rough, leading to a cracking sound.
- Disc Fragment
Spinal disc displacement is one of the most common reasons why back cracks occur.
- Facet Joint
When the facet joint dries out and becomes rough, it can lead to arthritic crepitus.
- Facet Joint Capsule
Air bubbles getting caught in the facet joint capsule give way to loud, popping noises.
If you ever ask yourself, ‘why does my back crack so much?’ — Don’t worry. As long as there is no pain associated with it, a cracking back is not a serious concern.
However, if the cracking sound accompanies excruciating pain or back spasms, it is best to visit a professional rheumatologist. For professional consultation, you can visit Rheumatology Care at 13688 Breton Ridge St, STE H, Houston, TX 77070, near Houston Kidney Specialists Center. In case of further information or queries, dial (832) 532-9779.