Self Chiropractic

I’ve figured out a way to skip the trip to the chiropractor and it’s a hell of alot cheaper. I crack my own back. Here’s how I perform some of the movements:

To crack the lower portion of your back, sit on the ground with one leg straight and the other leg crossed over it, like this:

Then turn behind you and you should feel an adjustment.

To crack the middle portion of your back, find a hard surface to sit on, get in a sit-up position. When you’re at the top of the sit-up position, swing down to the ground (hard) hitting the middle portion of your back on the ground. You should feel an adjustment if done properly. You may have to do this a few times to get a full adjustment.

To crack your neck, sit in an upright position and turn your neck to the side and downward with your hands. You should be able to get a solid crack out of that.

I normally perform these movements a few times a day, right before speed/tempo work seems to be optimal.

I allways wondered what cause the ‘cracking’ sound and ‘tension relief’.
Also, Stuart McGill stated in his book that cracking and mobilization of the spine, altought provides ‘relief’, decrease stability of the segments and may increase the risk of injury in the activities that follow.

Anyway, after the joint circles in my warm up, I do perform lying ‘twisting’ to crack my lower back (the exercise you posted, only lying on back), and scorpions too. To crack my upper back, I lay down on back with knees bent, arms behind head and scapulae puled hard together. Then I side-bend to left and right. This cracks my upper back.
From the same position, pulling my head toward the sternum crack my upper back too.
After this, I do activation stuff and dynamic movements, then bar complexes.
This works pretty much for me…

imo, self-stretching/myofascial release of the spine is a better solution.

crack is crack, but high amplitude-low force movement probably is a better solution.

Could you 'splain?


I allign my spine regularly too.

i lay on my back with arms out to each side like in a figure t. and swing slowly left leg across right and up to right hand, then back to start position, then right leg across to left hand and back to start. Just like on one of CF’s dvd’s. This normally works, some times, i just put the leg half way across, breath out and push the leg down to the ground and that works well too. This does the lower spine.

mid spine i can reach backwards with the outside of the hands touching the spine on your center back, and breath out and push forwards with your hands. This normally works well, for a better more deeper use i use a medicine ball and roll on that slowly up and down on the spine, this nearly always works.

for upperspine, As with the ball rolling, stop the ball approx mid scapula area and stabelize. Then twist the head with the hands as stated by Blinky above, although different directions seems to work also in this position.

I find a stretching session following the cracks helps tons. And if you can get somebody to massage you afterwards its fantastic.

I find just lying on a bench and lifting a loaded barbell above my chest and relaxing does this for me!

Duxx, please could you explain/describe/show what a Scorpion is.


Rup, it’s basically long time low intensity static stretching.

i.e. lieing down, rotate your neck on the left and stay for 1 or more minutes (some peoples work for 5-10 minutes per position), and relax yourself with breathing (every exalation try to relax), repeat on the other side.

As someone with an undergraduate degree in chiropractic science I can tell you that the idea of chiropractic treatment is to specifically mobilise those spinal segments that are not moving well (are “stuck”). The back-cracking exercises described in this thread do the exact opposite: they target the segments that are already the most mobile, while missing the ones that actually need mobilisation. Their result will thus be hypermobility of the previously functional spinal segments and a worsening of the (relative) hypomobility of the dysfunctional ones.

It is thought that the reason why cracking your back makes you feel good is that it interferes with the transmission of pain signals from the periphery to the CNS and possibly results in the release of endorphins. Non-specific back-cracking thus only masks existing causes of pain, has no real therapeutic value and can be harmful if practiced to excess.


Yeah, I normally always get a good crack when I’m about to do dumbbell bench. As soon as I roll back with the weights on my chest.

By the book, I’m sure you’re 100% right. But you can’t argue with the results I’m getting and you can’t beat the price.

If this is true then why does a chiropractor hit exactly the same area’s almost every session? Shouldn’t he be targeting segments that are “less mobile”?

Lay on your stomach, head down. Spread your arms wide in T position with palms down. Now, swing gently your left leg toward your right arm. Then return it and repeat with different leg.
Here is the critique of spine mobilization from Michael Boyle

Exactly what I ment Robin! Thanks for your reply! BTW, can you please explain me and other the source of the sound when ‘cracking’? Thanks

Blinky, in most people the same spinal segments get “stuck” on a regular basis, as they are continually exposed to the same unbalanced forces caused by imperfect posture, musculoskeletal abnormalities (e.g. leg length inequalities), muscle strength discrepancies, etc.

Duxx, if you stretch a joint capsule a partial vacuum is created within it that leads to the formation of nitrogen bubbles that create a cracking sound as they form.


Thanks Robin.
But where does those bubble go? :slight_smile: Why can’t you crack the joints all the time, you need time to re-crack them again? Why do we feel the need to ‘crack’ the joints? Does anything happens to a ‘tension-length’ or viscosity characteristics of the joint after cracking?
Sorry for such gross ammount of question – I am very interested into chiropractice! Could you please PM me, or explain here what is the proces of education of chiropractors? Thanks

The nitrogen bubbles are reabsorbed into the synovial fluid which takes about 20-30 min, by which time you should be able to crack the same joint again. We feel the need to repeatedly crack joints due to the addictive nature of the “feel good experience” described in my first post in this thread.

The process of training chiropractors is different in various countries, but usually involves completing both an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree.


Thanks. Do you have to go to medical school and then specialize or there ‘chiro’ schools (4 year undergrad)?

If you have trouble cracking your neck, try laying on the ground with your knees up for about 30 seconds and then give it a go. It seems to loosen it up quite a bit.

The carioca drill gives my back a crack.