Sometimes cracking your back is like an itch that you have to scratch especially when you’re pregnant. Ever wondered why?
As your pregnancy advances, you will feel discomfort and increased middle and lower back pain.
As a result, you may wish to crack your back to seek relief from the back tension, but you may wonder if it’s harmful.
While pain and discomfort during the last few months of pregnancy are very common due to the growing baby’s weight and movements, it is quite safe for pregnant women to crack their backs, given they are attentive and fully aware of the right way of doing so.
Why Does My Back Hurt When Pregnant?
Your back hurts particularly in the area where the pelvis joins the spine during pregnancy, and it is more common when you have entered your second trimester since the baby grows bigger with each passing day.
However, there are some other reasons that cause back pain apart from the growth of your baby.
It’s always the hormones, isn’t it?
Along with the countless changes that hormones bring, back pain is one of them.
It happens when the body releases the hormone relaxin. In preparation for childbirth, this hormone tends to relieve the pelvis and loosens the joints.
This happens because pregnant women are more exposed to back discomfort due to pelvic instability during this period.
One of the reasons your back hurts so much is because posture changes during pregnancy. Pregnancy can lead your gravitational pull to alter without you even realizing it.
As a reaction to that, you will start changing your posture and even the way you move, stressing your back.
The uterine expansion that causes abdominal muscle separation, or diastasis recti, is also a factor you feel discomfort in your back. It may even make it harder to suck in your stomach as the pregnancy progresses.
It is quite common for mothers to gain weight during pregnancy while the baby grows inside the womb. This can potentially exert pressure on your intervertebral discs sitting right between your spinal cord leading to back pain.
To overcome that, your lower back bones have to work twice as hard to maintain the weight and handle the pressure, causing the backache.
What Happens In Your Body When You Crack Your Back?
A back crack is the same as cracking your neck, shoulder, fingers, and knees, and can be due to air bubbles in your back’s joint capsule.
Like most of our body’s joints, the joints of our spinal cord are surrounded by synovial fluid, making it easier for the surfaces to glide over each other. When there are air bubbles inside your joint capsule, you might hear cracking sounds while moving your back.
When you flex or twist your spine, you put a strain on this fluid causing these gases to be expelled.
You might also hear a popping sound while moving because of gases like oxygen or nitrogen being expelled from the joint surfaces of your spinal cord segments.
Lastly, a cracking sound might originate from any change in the position of joints as well as the tendons and ligaments of the spinal segment involved. Because of the absence of cartilage, arthritic joints may create grinding noises.
Can I Crack My Back During Pregnancy?
Contrary to popular belief, cracking your back while you’re pregnant won’t affect your baby as long as you do it in the right way.
Cracking your back while pregnant is generally safe and relaxing if you exercise caution.
As told earlier, any back pain you might be experiencing is caused by the pressure from your baby’s weight and position.
As your pregnancy progresses, cracking your back may become increasingly difficult.
Your doctor might advise you to not crack your back if you are troubled about potential ectopic pregnancy, bleeding per vagina or any other complication.
Avoid any twisting or motions that may put a strain on your abdomen.
How To Crack Your Back During Pregnancy?
To give you a more particular idea about the procedure of cracking your back during pregnancy, here are some tips to remember and avoid to actually relax.
Get Your Back Cracked By a Professional
The most secure and certain approach to cracking your back without ending up with an injury or any harm to your unborn child is to seek the help of a physical therapist or any qualified physician.
It is preferable to seek the services of a chiropractor, especially one who is also well-versed in prenatal care.
However, before you decide to do so, see your obstetrician to ensure that the treatment is safe for you.
Don’t Crack Your Back Too Much
Cracking your back more than recommended might cause injury in the lower back while damaging various joints and nerves.
Doing so too frequently causes a tear in your joints, resulting in tension, swelling, and disintegration.
Apart from nerve damage, you are at a high risk of ligament laxity, also referred to as hypermobility.
It usually occurs when a joint is pushed beyond its normal range of motion, causing the surrounding ligaments to stretch and eventually leading to elongation or sprain.
If this occurs, it may have an impact on your body’s functions since the damaged ligaments are unable to support or maintain the joints in place.
Hence, it is advised to avoid popping your back too much. While doing so helps ease some of the strain and soreness, doing it frequently can create more harm than good including slipped discs.
Why Your Back is Popping on Its Own
Sometimes you’re just doing your chores, hear a cracking sound from your knees and get worried.
But did you know your back sometimes cracks on its own when you’re pregnant?
If you are noticing your back popping on its own or even grinding, remember that there’s always a medical reason for that (pregnant or not).
Here are some of the complications that may result in your back cracking all by itself.
Ligament Cartilage Damage
There’s a flexible tissue in our body known as cartilage, which maintains our bones reducing the friction between the joints and providing weight support.
Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, the cartilage gets damaged or injured.
One of the reasons includes osteoarthritis. Although minor injuries or swelling are treated on their own, people with osteoarthritis might want to seek professional treatment.
Damaged Synovial Capsule
A synovial capsule is a closed compartment made up of smooth cartilages covering up the articular surfaces in a joint; it contains synovial fluid and is the most frequent form of joint in the body.
The synovial fluid lubricates the bony surfaces of the joints, making sure that the articulating surfaces of the bones involved do not grind against each other, minimizing bone damage through wear and tear.
The degradation of a synovial capsule as a result of an accident or a torn ligament may cause joint damage and pain.
Can I Get Arthritis From Cracking My Back?
One of the most popular misconceptions that we have heard about cracking your joints, or more specifically your back, is that it causes arthritis.
But, you should be glad to know that it will not result in arthritis or joint enlargement. Back cracking and chiropractic therapy may help soothe certain arthritis symptoms for that matter. It may, however, increase symptoms such as stiffness and edema.
Can I Get a Slipped Disc From Cracking My Back?
You might end up slipping your disc while cracking your back especially if you have a history of spinal injury or disc herniation.
Try to keep an eye out for any abnormal pain that might occur after you’ve adjusted your spine and consult your doctor immediately.
When Not to Crack My Back During Pregnancy?
In most instances, you can easily crack your back without affecting the fetus if you don’t put much pressure on your abdomen while doing so.
Generally, doctors don’t have an issue with you cracking your back, but some might advise the contrary. This is mostly due to the increased risk of vaginal bleeding or toxemia, which refers to high blood pressure leading to protein loss in the urine.
Cracking your back might also significantly increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy, a condition in which the fertilized egg might implant outside its usual site.
Can I Get Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy?
Chiropractic adjustment maintains the spine straight, which can be beneficial for pregnant women who are in pain. Chiropractic is sometimes recommended by midwives and doctors to their patients.
As of now, seeking a chiropractor while you are pregnant is not documented as a contraindication in literature.
It is a part of a chiropractor’s training to learn how to deal with pregnant moms, and it is common practice for them to use charts to treat each pregnant mother’s body.
While cracking your back, they might use procedures to make sure there is no unwanted pressure on your abdomen
What’s Another Way to Crack Your Back While Pregnant?
We have emphasized the fact that you shouldn’t be cracking your back very often, but you might still be looking for some alternatives to get pain relief.
Gentle Stretches and Exercises
Most pregnant women have reported that the best alternative they tried for back popping is actually stretches and exercises, as they are considered generally safe.
While increasing your flexibility and helping your movibility, such gentle exercises might help you relax your muscles, making sure they are not cramped up by excessive use.
Being a favorable option in the long run, such gentle stretches might help ease your back pain over time.
Gentle body stretches are less dangerous than cracking your back and can also help you maintain good posture.
So, a good stretch a day keeps the back pain away!
For pregnant women, popping their backs is completely normal if done with utmost care.
Since you are prone to uncountable pregnancy complications, always consult with your doctor before cracking your back.
It’s best to remember that you shouldn’t crack your back every day or very often, and it should be avoided as much as possible. Consider popping your back as the last option, especially when no other treatment works for you.
To Crack or Not to Crack Your Back?
So, in the end, you might be considering whether it is safe for you to crack your back while you are pregnant, and the answer is yes!
It is completely safe for you to crack your back but try not to crack it excessively or too forcefully. Getting it done by a professional is surely the best option, so go book an appointment with your nearest chiropractor. In addition, keep an eye out for any abnormalities and extra pain, and consult a doctor in case you encounter such symptoms.