Cracking the lower back can bring a feeling of satisfaction and sometimes help with pain and stiffness. There are different ways to crack the lower back, but it is important to do so safely.

When a person stretches or moves in a way that causes a cracking sound in their back, it is not because anything is “cracking.” Instead, the sound is due to the release of gases that have built up in the joints.

This article explains different techniques for cracking the lower back, as well as the potential risks and benefits.

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While scientists have not proven the benefits of cracking the lower back, some people find it brings a feeling of satisfaction and temporary relief from lower back pain.

Cracking the back may increase mobility in the spine and provide relief from chronic . Additionally, it is possible that joint manipulation resulting in a cracking sound may release endorphins that can relieve pain and result in a feeling of satisfaction.

In general, lower back stretches can be effective at reducing chronic lower back pain.

Cracking the back is low risk, and most side effects are not harmful. However, according to a 2017 review, there are rare cases where manual manipulation of the spine may cause severe adverse effects.

Potential risks include:

  • soreness and discomfort
  • worsened symptoms
  • torn muscles
  • pinched nerves
  • ligament damage

There is a range of ways to crack the lower back safely. Seated techniques may be better for beginners or those with less strength.

It is important to be gentle while stretching and stop if any pain occurs.

Using a chair

These are seated techniques where the individual uses a chair to support the exercise. It is better to use a chair with no armrests and a low or medium-height back.

This method is simple and suitable for beginners:

  1. Sit straight in the chair with feet flat on the floor and back against the back of the chair.
  2. Bring both hands behind the back of the chair and interlock the fingers.
  3. Take a deep breath, and while exhaling, bend the spine backward over the chair.
  4. Go as far as is comfortable and hold for several seconds or until the back cracks.

As this maneuver is very gentle, the back may not crack using this method. Instead, a person can try the following way:

  1. Sit straight on the chair with feet flat on the floor.
  2. Slowly twist the body to the left.
  3. Reach the left arm behind the body and grab the right side of the chair with the left hand.
  4. Grab the left side of the chair with the right hand to assist in twisting left.
  5. Gently pull into the twist using both hands.
  6. Hold this position for several seconds or until the back cracks.
  7. Repeat on the other side.

Trunk rotation

Steps for this stretch:

  1. Lie on the floor or exercise mat with the right leg straight and left leg bent at about 90 degrees.
  2. Spread the arms and take a deep breath.
  3. On the exhale, gently bring the bent left leg over the right leg, keeping the head and shoulders flat.
  4. Using the right hand, reach over to the left knee and gently pull the leg toward the right side of the body.
  5. Hold this position for several seconds or until the back cracks.
  6. Repeat 2–3 times if the back does not crack on the first try.
  7. Switch legs and repeat steps on the other side.

Cat stretch

Steps for this stretch:

  1. Get on all fours on the floor or an exercise mat with hands directly below the shoulder and the knees directly below the hips.
  2. Gently arch the back toward the ceiling and tuck the head between the shoulders.
  3. Hold this position for a few seconds, then gently return to the starting position.

If an individual is experiencing constant pain in the back, they should speak with a doctor. They should also contact a doctor if their pain is severe, their range of movement changes, or they think they may have an injury.

It is important that people always stretch gently and stop stretching if they experience any intense or unexpected pain.

If back pain is affecting a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities, they may want to speak to a doctor for further advice.

Cracking the lower back is a generally safe activity that may provide satisfaction and some relief from mild back pain.

It is important to be gentle and slow when completing exercises to crack the lower back to reduce the risk of adverse side effects.

While the activity is low risk, it is possible to cause injury or damage when attempting to crack the back.