Cracking in the back – causes, treatment & prevention

Crack in the back

The Crack in the back is a widespread popular affliction that almost everyone experienced in a jerky movement or twist. But in some people, the pops occur more frequently, almost regularly; already light and everyday movements lead to the loud cracking. The causes for this can be manifold, mostly it is dismissed as harmless, since the affected persons usually feel no pain. In some cases, however, serious musculoskeletal or musculoskeletal disorders may be behind it.

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What’s cracking in the back ?

The cracking in the back can occur either on one or both sides in almost all regions of the back. The noise itself can be a loud click, but also a pop or click sound. In most patients, the region of the middle back is affected, the crackling sound is triggered here usually by a movement of the shoulder blades. Even though the cracking sound usually sounds similar, patients still report completely different sensations. Thus, some sufferers describe cracking as the feeling that a tendon, a muscle or a ligament is “skipping”. Others feel as if something “pops out” or as if something jammed loose.

The cracking can be deep-seated in the back or superficially felt. Often, the clicks occur at short intervals in succession and then stay off again for a while. Pain, which develops in connection with the crackling noises, usually occurs directly after the cracking and is often associated with a restriction of movement.


Another explanation for the crackling noises in the back are herniated discs. Slipping discs or joints out of the joint socket, this can be accompanied by a loud cracking noise. However, this process is usually associated with extreme pain for the person concerned and requires immediate medical or orthopedic treatment. With regular crackling noises, which arise during certain movements and rotations, but are painless, a herniated disc can thus be excluded.


A crack in the back is in most cases no reason to consult a doctor. Certain twisting or stretching movements often trigger the crack individually. If a new cracking noise occurs during the course of the movement, a doctor should be consulted to clarify the cause. If the clicks continue to increase over a longer period of time, a doctor’s visit is also necessary. There may be diseases of the bones that have a chronic course.

If further complaints occur, a doctor should always be consulted. These include pain in the back, poor posture or pelvic disorders, muscle discomfort and restricted mobility. If it comes to a sensation of the skin or circulatory disorders, the symptoms should be discussed with a doctor. If the cracking in the back causes a lasting change in the skeletal system, consult a doctor. This also applies if there is no pain or further symptoms.

If there is a crack in the back, which occurs in light movements, herniated discs may be present. Even if the person feels a sense of relief, a doctor’s visit is necessary. Cracking noises in the back that occur during a massage should be examined by a doctor. In cases of paralysis or discomfort in the legs, further investigations must be initiated as soon as possible.

Diagnosis and course

If your back is cracking during light movements and is even associated with pain or restricted mobility, consult a doctor. This will initially lead to a detailed anamnesis with the patient and ask him about his individual medical history and possible pre-existing conditions. Following this, a detailed examination of the back and the entire musculoskeletal system will take place. In order to pinpoint the symptoms accurately, the doctor can order additional examination measures such as magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound examinations or X-rays.

If increasingly frequent pops in the back are not treated, this can – depending on the cause – lead to severe damage to the holding apparatus, spine or joints. In particular, in an untreated herniated disc usually set late effects such as movement restrictions or nerve damage of the spinal cord. These, in turn, can lead to motor disorders and even paralysis and are usually irreversible.


When cracking in the back complications or other problems occur only in a few cases. Cracking itself is a common symptom, especially after long sitting or unhealthy sitting positions. However, a doctor should be consulted if, in addition to cracking in the back and pain. If the cracking already occurs at the smallest movements, also a doctor should be consulted. This may be a herniated disc, which will occur shortly.

The cracking in the back and the associated pain can lead to a strong limitation of the movement. The patient can no longer move easily and master his everyday life. This also causes mental health problems for many people. A too frequent cracking in the back can cause paralysis in some places. The treatment is usually done by physiotherapy and pain therapy. However, their success depends very much on the severity of the back problems and can not be universally predicted. Likewise, massages and treatments with heat can release the tension in the back.

Treatment and therapy

Treatment of the crackling noises in the back is often quite difficult, because in most cases the actual cause is not clearly determinable. Thus, not infrequently the symptoms, but not the true trigger of the backbone are treated here. Purely analgesic measures can be carried out with the help of anti-inflammatories, Muskelentkrampfern or high-dose painkillers.

Alternative treatment methods are the chirotherapy or the fascia distortion model, here the patient is manually “restrained”. Also in naturopathy, some therapies are available, which can help with crackling noises in the back. This includes, among other things, cupping, in which, with the aid of glasses in the patient at the respective sites creates a negative pressure and thus the blood circulation is stimulated. Another alternative is the neural therapy. In this case, local anesthetics are injected at the affected area, which has a pain-relieving effect.

In addition, of course, also offer surgical measures. For example, if the person suffers from a congenital malformation of the joints, intervertebral discs or spine, usually only one operation can provide relief. Depending on the defect, it can be used as part of a surgical correction, for example, artificial joint replacement parts, artificial vertebrae or supportive devices for the spine.

If the pops are the result of a lack of movement or stress, targeted physiotherapeutic measures can be used here. With the help of special massages and stretching exercises, the back muscles and thus the entire musculoskeletal system can be strengthened, which makes many patients already symptom-free.


In order to train and strengthen certain muscle parts in the back area, especially yoga and Pilates are recommended. In order to prevent a herniated disc, it is especially necessary to not expect the back excessive load in the form of obesity. A healthy lifestyle, a conscious diet and enough exercise keep the body fit and slim.

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Christina Cherry
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