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What Does It Mean When My Spine Makes Cracking Noises?

So, What Are Those Spine Cracking Noises?

spine crackWhen the spine makes cracking noises, it’s often caused by the movement of joints, tendons, or ligaments in the back. In most cases, occasional cracking sounds without pain or discomfort are normal and not a cause for concern.

However, if the cracking is accompanied by pain, swelling, or any other discomfort, or if it becomes a frequent and persistent issue, it’s a good idea to consult a healthcare professional. They can help determine the underlying cause and whether any treatment is necessary.

What Causes These Movements of the Joints, Tendons, or Ligaments in the Back?

Spine Cracking can occur for many different reasons:

  • Cavitation: This happens when joints move and the pressure within the joint changes, causing gas bubbles in the fluid that lubricates the joints to collapse or form, leading to a cracking or popping sound. It’s a common and usually harmless occurrence.
  • Movement of Ligaments or Tendons: Sometimes, the ligaments or tendons that support the spine may slightly move out of place when you move, and the sound occurs when they return to their original position. This is also typically harmless.
  • Articular Release: When you stretch or move, the space between the joints can increase, releasing built-up pressure and causing a cracking sound. This type of release can sometimes bring relief from tension.
  • Degenerative Changes: In some cases, especially with aging, the noises may be due to degenerative changes in the joints of the spine, such as osteoarthritis. This might be accompanied by pain or discomfort.
  • Vertebral Movement: Occasionally, the vertebrae might shift slightly against each other or get realigned, causing a noise.

How Do I Keep This Cracking From Becoming More of a Problem?

Preventing spine cracking from becoming a problem, especially if it’s associated with discomfort or pain, involves maintaining a healthy spine and back through various lifestyle and physical activity changes. Here are some general tips to help prevent issues related to spine cracking:

  • Maintain Good Posture
  • Stay Active
  • Stretch Regularly
  • Lift Properly
  • Stay Hydrated
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight

Again, if you are experiencing discomfort or pain associated with spine cracking or if it becomes more frequent or severe, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider. They can assess your condition and recommend specific treatments or interventions tailored to your needs.


*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery