A 32-year-old female asked:
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does cracking your neck/back do any harm? i have cervical spondylosis and a torn l4/l5 disc. i get relief from stiffness w/ cracking.

2 doctor answers
Dr. Thomas Byrnes
28 years experience Family Medicine
If it feels good: The noise made when you crack your neck is thought to be from cavitation-- it happens when the volume of the joint space suddenly expands, like when you open a soda can. Its good that you can relieve some of your stiffness. If you incorporated core strengthening, gentle yoga type stretching with controlled breathing exercises and normal motion patterns, you will have your best chance of healing.
Answered on Dec 8, 2015
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Dr. Kevin Teal
Dr. Kevin Teal commented
29 years experience Neurosurgery
I would be careful with forceful swift movements that cause cracking in your neck or back. Part of that cracking is the joints in your neck moving past each other. Doing this forcefully can aggravate the normal wear and tear that comes with the normal movement of your neck and back. Some cracking with the normal range of motion of your neck or back is good but avoid extreme postures or movements.
Feb 5, 2012
Dr. Michael Bolesta
39 years experience Orthopedic Surgery
Probably not: Used in moderation, self manipulation is probably safe. Avoid using large force to move the spine, and stop if you experience pain, numbness, tingling, weakness.
Answered on Sep 25, 2013
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