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Don’t Crack Your Back! Try these Back Exercises & Stretches Instead

hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo and cool Remy,
and Remy says “don’t crack your back, do these seven stretches and exercises
instead.” so this get started. so I want to start off by saying that cracking your
back, or technically what we call it is either manipulating your back or
adjusting your back, there’s nothing wrong with that, when it’s appropriate. so
sometimes I get a little worried when people say, oh I’m just cracking my back
and I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but it feels good, or it kind of hurts
when it happens. because there are some diagnoses that if you have that you
should not be cracking your back. and there’s ways you can do stretches and
exercises that will actually get that adjustment that you need. you might not
feel that wonderful pop, but you might, so this is a great alternative especially
if you’re not exactly what sure what is going on in your back. if you’re not sure
about that you really don’t want to just be cracking your back, or adjusting, or
manipulating your back. so I’m just gonna start off with some pretty simple stuff
lying down, but you can do this on your bed or on the couch. you don’t have to do
it on the floor if you can’t get down on the floor comfortably. so the first one
is really just a simple bridge, and what bridging will do, will kind of loosen up
the back, the hip area. and so if you’ve got something that’s tight or maybe
slightly out of line, this will help get it back into alignment. so with bridges,
if you’ve seen my videos before, you want you know your knees to be about hip
width apart. you want your feet to be on the floor, and you really want to lift up
in a slow controlled motion. almost like you’re rolling your back up and down. you
don’t want to just come up and down because that’s using momentum, and then
that’s not getting that segment movement which is what you’re looking for to kind
of get that adjustment or that manipulation in there. so you’re just
rolling up as high as you comfortably can. if you can’t get this high, that’s
okay, and then slowly rolling back down. if you feel like your hamstrings are
cramping a little bit, if you bring your feet a little bit closer to you, that
takes the hamstrings out a little bit more, makes you work your glutes a little
bit more. so if you feel like your hamstrings are trying to cramp, bring
your your heels a little bit closer to your bottom. so I would just start off
with maybe 10 of those. you can do a couple sets of 10,
a couple of times throughout the day. so then the next one is just going to be a
simple of knee to chest stretch. and again this is just kind of stretching
out the back. sometimes you don’t need that you know pop or that manipulation,
you just need to get everything stretched out. so it’ll loosen up. so a
simple need to chest stretch is just what it sounds like, you’re bringing your
knee up to your chest. I like keeping my knee bent.
some people like stretching it out. it’ll also help stretch out your hip flexors
if you do that, but if you’re first starting off, this will help kind of
support your back a little bit. you’re just going to take both hands, you can go
on the front of your knee. if you have some knee issues you can go underneath
your knee, and just pull it towards your chest as far as you comfortably can. make
sure you’re doing some nice deep breathing while you’re doing this.
sometimes once you get in that position if you take a nice deep breath you might
actually get a little bit of that pop or that adjustment in your back. this is
going to be a full 30 second hold, and then you’re gonna do that three times on
each side. I like to alternate back and forth, but you don’t have to. if you want
to do them all three on one side and then switch, you can, but again make sure
you’re doing that nice deep breathing to help relax those muscles and to help
adjust your spine a little bit. so then the next one is just going to be what we
would call a trunk rotation. you can do this two different ways. if you’re first
starting out, you might want to do this one first because it’s a little bit less
stress on your back. so keeping your knees and your feet together, you’re just
going to roll gently to one side try and keep your shoulder blades on the floor
or the bed. but you can let your hip come up off of the floor or your pelvis. and
then just gently roll side to side as far as you comfortably can. now you can
do either way. you can do it a continuous motion or you can come to the spot where
you feel a stretch, and hold it for about 10 or 15 seconds, and then maybe go back
and forth about five times. if that’s not really getting much of a stretch for you,
you can do a bigger trunk rotation stretch where then you’re gonna bring
one leg down and you’re gonna lift the other knee up to the hip and knee being
note about 90 degrees, and then you’re gonna take your hand
and just help gently roll your body over to the side. now this one sometimes you
actually might get a little bit of a pop or crack in your back if you’re doing it.
don’t force it, don’t push hard. you’re just going into the stretch, so you can
do this one where you’re holding it for maybe thirty Seconds, or just go till you
get to that spot where you feel that nice stretch. and again take that nice
deep breath, let it out, go a little bit more, and sometimes again you might you
might get that little crack or that pop or the adjustment or the manipulation. so
the next one, especially if you’re having maybe some issues in the pelvic area or
that SI joint, you can do what we would call a muscle energy technique. but this
is also just kind of isometric exercises which sometimes helps get that
adjustment if you need it. I like sometimes just using a roll
underneath one leg, you don’t have to, but I feel like it gives you a little
something you can push into to help. so with this one,
often you might want to know if one side’s out of alignment or not, but if you don’t
have something out alignment, you’re just looking for that adjustment, you can do
both sides. so what I’m going to do is I’m going to bring this knee up, and I’m
going to place my hands just on top of my thigh here. so I’m going to do a
motion where I’m pushing up this way, but my hands are gonna prevent me from doing
it. so I’m pushing up into my hand at the same time I’m pushing down into that
roll with my knee and kind of squeezing my glute muscles. so just kind of doing
that at the same time, pushing up with this one, pushing down with this. your heel might even come off of the floor, or the mat a little bit, and
that’s fine just hold it for three to five seconds, and then relax. I would
probably do it three to five times in a row just depending on how comfortable it
is. you don’t want it to be painful, but you do want to feel that tension or
pressure in there. so again this one’s coming up this way, that one’s going down
that way, but they’re not really going anywhere. you’re just activating those
muscles to help kind of realign everything. so again if you don’t have a
side that’s particularly rotated, you can do both sides. so again bringing this
side up, pushing in, going up this way and then
pushing down with that one at the same time so you’re kind of getting that you
know contraction down that way in the contraction up this way. holding
again for about five seconds, doing that three to five time.s so then the same
kind of concept now we’re gonna do a hip abduction going out, but it’s going to be
isometrically. so just take a belt, if you’ve got kind of a yoga strap or
something that’ll work, but you want it to be solid. you don’t want it to be a
resistive band because you don’t want it to go anywhere. again this is an
isometric exercise which means you’re contracting the muscle, but you’re not
moving the muscle. it doesn’t have to be a specific distance apart, you can
actually do a little bit you know, do one here, doing here, doing here. so the
distance doesn’t matter a whole lot as long as you feel like you’re activating
the muscles. so this time I’m pushing out into the belt with both sides to
activate those outer muscles, and that helps kind of open up that pelvis a
little bit too. so you again sometimes people might feel a little crack or a
pop with this, so I wouldn’t start off with a hundred percent of all your force
pushing out. maybe start off with 30 to 40 percent, and see how you feel just
pushing out that five seconds or so. and then if it feels okay, each time you can
do a little bit more pressure pushing out. so again maybe three to five times a
day, and then you’re just going to go in the opposite direction. so now you’re
gonna be squeezing in. you can use yoga block if you have a yoga block. if you
don’t have something like that, you can use a sports ball, soccer ball, basketball,
volleyball. if you don’t have anything like that either,
you can’t just fold up a pillow and put it in, but with this one you do want it
to be about hip width apart. so you don’t want something super small. you can use
your fist in between, but you want you don’t want it to be where your knees are
so close together. you do want some distance apart. and so now this time
you’re squeezing into the ball. and so a lot of times with this one, with my
patients and sometimes with myself, if I’m out of alignment this is the one
that will give me that pop. so if I’m squeezing in I might feel a little pop
in my pelvis area or even back in the SI joint. and so that’s just everything
again trying to adjust or self manipulate yourself.
so then the last one is going to be rolling over onto your tummy. now this is
one that if you’re not sure what your diagnosis is, you might not want to do
this because going back into that extension for some things like stenosis
or things like that, you probably wouldn’t want to do this. so again if
you’re not sure, you probably don’t want to do it. if you have something like a disc
issue, this is okay, but just go to your comfort zone because some people might
just have to start off propping up on their elbows. so you can see I’ve got a
little bit of an extension in my back, but it’s not a big forceful extension. so
this one is really just propping up on my elbows for about 30 seconds. again if
you haven’t done this before and your back is pretty sore, you might just want
to start off with 10 to 15 seconds and then come back down and relax. you don’t
want it to be painful. a little bit of pressure, a little bit of
uncomfortableness is okay, but again you you don’t want it to hurt. so again if
you’re not sure what your diagnosis is you might want to hold off on this one.
so there you have it. don’t crack your back do these seven stretches and
exercises instead. Isn’t that right Miss Remy? so if you’d like to help support my
channel, make sure and click on the link up there, and don’t forget to subscribe,
where? over there. and remember be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

17 thoughts on “Don’t Crack Your Back! Try these Back Exercises & Stretches Instead

  1. Buy a printable worksheet with the Back Cracking Alternatives in this video here:
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  2. Great video Dr. Jo I have ankspond so I with i could crack my back with out breaking my spine even though its bad for you, it would be great lol

  3. Hey DoctorJo its been a while since I commented…I have a question regarding cracking…what can I do to help my body stop cracking on its own? Background is I had 2 spinal fusions in the past 5 years, ALL of my lumbar is fused, all of my neck cervical area is fused (motorcycle accident, drunk driver, I fell off and hit the road hard, bike was totaled), also needed shoulder rotator cuff surgery…last surgery, lumbar was almost 2 years ago…I can now walk a costco store without a walker…however I have RA, spinal stenosis, Disk degenerative disease, Scoliosis, and MS (which first they said that was fibro, then lupus, now MS, because I now have seizures, tremors too)…the cracking all over my body (even my fingers and toes) it startles me, fears me, am I breaking another bone…HOW can I strengthen my joints n muscles, to protect my bones? PS I am a young 61 years old…=) Thank you so very much for just being there for us healing folks! I work at home selling on ebay and somedays I struggle…and because of that I loose sales…if only I could do better there, because those sales pays for my medical needs, a real catch 22!

  4. With your help Dr. Jo I feel way better… thank you for posting and sharing yo nowledge. Pls keep posting vids….you've made a big difference in my life, and I'm greatful for your help in aiding me and I feel better so thank you so much. God bless- and keep doing what you do thx again

  5. Hi Dr. Jo! I am a 1st year DPT student, and I also am a ballet dancer/teacher. I have a very flexible back, which I crack a few times throughout the day. Also, I need to crack my hips a couple of times a day, which I think is due to tightness from a combo of both sitting all day and then muscling my leg up at dance most evenings. Though slightly disturbed by the sound, my professors say it is fine to pop as long as it doesn't hurt. Do you agree? Also, I already do most of these exercises outlined in your video pretty regularly.

    Thank you for sharing!

  6. Thanks for these, I learned some new stretches! I've got stenosis and ddd so it's a case of a little bit of everything and creating a balance. I'm doing my yoga teacher training with my focus being working with less able bodied people, people who think they can't practice because of a, b or c. I was very lucky that my teacher was a retired physio so I learned a lot from her. I'm really excited to do this, I just want to help people in the same way that yoga helped me. My students will have to understand though that they really need to listen to their bodies, never mind who's better than you in class and leave your ego at the door. The latter is how most injuries occur in yoga and, I don't know if you practice, the best bit is nobody cares because you're too busy concentrating on what you're doing! Thanks for your videos Jo, much appreciated xx

  7. 9:20 – lower back pain cuz of this.. I usually stay in this position watching videos 😁 in between my workouts & sometimes while in bed..
    My dog does this with no pain..(iv seen him sleep like that)
    Another great video..
    I learned something new (the ball squeeze) can't wait to try this out..

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