Crack my back
August 6, 2012 11:13 PM   Subscribe

Hi Sometimes my back and neck gets so tight that I think this would be useful. Please let me know if anyone has had any experience with this kind of back popping. Anyone aware of this service being offered in the Houston area would be really helpful
posted by Noodles to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I had a chiropractor do this sort of thing to me after a motorcycle accident. I hated it--nothing was done about the tight muscles, and it just felt like I was about to break in half.

What has always helped me has been either massage or yoga, both of which I find actually relax the tight muscles. I tend to go for slower classes, and classes that don't have a proscribed series of poses. If I mention to the teacher beforehand that I hurt or am tight in a specific place, and they can include poses to work on that, so much the better.

Something that might be harder to arrange, but is the BEST is when I tell me yoga teacher pal Mikey where it hurts, and he lays me down and stretches out those specific areas.
posted by mollymayhem at 11:20 PM on August 6, 2012

IANAD, IANAC, but I've found that Treat Your Own Back and Treat Your Own Neck by Robin McKenzie provide a nice set of exercises that you can do regularly to prevent, and treat a bit, this sort of thing.
posted by knile at 12:13 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

I was injured by someone doing this.

How many hours sport do you do each week Noodles? What kind?
posted by devnull at 1:23 AM on August 7, 2012

This looks like a great way to pick up neck injuries to add to your other problems.

If you're back and neck get tight, them you probably need to work on your posture and core strength.
posted by pharm at 2:11 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

My aunt, who is a physical therapist, has worked with more than one person paralyzed (partially or totally) by neck adjustments and head weighting from licensed chiropractors. Don't do this.

I like using the tennis ball technique to fix my back and neck. Stick a tennis ball in a sock and lay on it, placing the ball approximately where the muscle is tightest. Use the sock leg to move it around to the precise location. Completely relax into the tennis ball--eventually you will feel the muscle release. It will hurt at first. You can also lean up against a wall and roll the tennis ball around your back in something of a self-massage.
posted by xyzzy at 3:12 AM on August 7, 2012

tl;dr: maybe try Alexander Technique?

I've always been disturbed by chiropracty, because it's clear there's a lot of variation in training and techniques, and because I know many stories of friends and family complaining about things getting worse after unfortunate sessions. I also don't get the sense it's well-studied. And then there's some woo-woo stuff that apparently everybody's good chiropractor disavows. With just a quick look, Yumeiho gives me similar worries, for instance google finds:
The theory of the YUMEIHO method is grounded on the fact, that over 95% of people have had incorrectly positioned pelvis since their birth.
Three big red flags right there. (a) assertion that most people have some kind of problem (watch for this with your naturopath) and (b) a one-stop, simplistic theory of a singular underlying cause from which the problem cascades (nice for building hope of a quick fix, but rarely scientifically valid: outcomes are nearly always the result of many interacting factors) and (c) the fact that this is based on "theory" at all (I'm not going to dig around, but I doubt that this is being treated as an actual theory---i.e., as in driving experiments to see whether something is right.)

Anyway, it made me breathe a sigh of relief when I learned that someone close to me who'd used chiropractors a lot (sometimes with raving success and sometimes with miserable months-long complaints after single sessions) told me he now achieves results like or better than his best experiences at chiropractors by going to Alexander technique sessions, which presumably come with no risks at all. E.g., driving home and turning his head to look behind him and having it feel free, easy and comfortable for the first time he can remember. Just a possible alternative to consider.

(As a disclaimer, I've never been to a chiropractor or tried Alexander. Just making a suggestion that could have less downside risk.)
posted by spbmp at 7:00 AM on August 7, 2012

To answer the question, this is a chiropractic adjustment (done in an informal setting, with a big dose of woo) and so you would seek out a chiropractor. I've been to chriopractors and while the adjustment doesn't always help my primary complaint, or help for long, I've never been left feeling worse. But YMMV as others' remarks indicate.

I would stay away from this sort of thing done as informally as shown in the video. You want someone with a license and liability insurance, not yoga pants and self-assurance.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:40 AM on August 7, 2012

What Snuffleupagus said.
Other than being seated versus on a table the underlying movements, adjustments, etc. involved seem pretty damn close to a standard chiro appointment, as far as I can tell.
posted by Su at 9:33 AM on August 7, 2012

I would suggest self-care (including stretching and self-massage -- the Treat Your Own Back/Neck books are awesome, as is the tennis ball trick, and there are a lot of great free videos on youtube), massage from a licensed therapist (preferably one who specializes in injury or deep-tissue bodywork), and exercise (compound-lift strength training really goes a long way to help prevent tight muscles over the long term).

Chiropracty is dangerous, but more than that, it won't solve the problem -- you need to relieve the muscle tension which is causing that "back needs to be popped" feeling, otherwise the feeling will just keep coming back.
posted by vorfeed at 1:11 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have mega neck and back issues, and I would suggest that you go to a physical therapist for some sessions. A PT will teach you some stretches and exercises to strengthen the supportive muscles and relax the bits that are tight, and possibly do some manual work (very strong massage).

I also like the Robin McKenzie books.

Also the tennis ball method is awesome. Just don't be like me and let your dogs run off with the "toy!"
posted by radioamy at 1:47 PM on August 7, 2012

In my case, my muscles are so tight that they do make my spine feel out of alignment. My take on this: Even if someone corrected my spine by popping, those muscles are going to stay tight and slowly yank everything back to it's original pre-popped state. So I don't see popping as helpful, just pointless at best, and dangerous at worst.

So instead I'm stretching and building up opposing muscle groups (learned exercises from a physical therapist after evaluation), starting regular massage visits, learning and practicing relaxation techniques, and I've taken a few Alexander Technique classes. It's ongoing, but so far so good (especially liked the PT and Alexander sessions). I am admittedly totally squicked out by forceable back popping noises and the potential for injury as others mentioned.
posted by NikitaNikita at 5:18 PM on August 7, 2012

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