How to Crack Your Own Back
My back is hyper-flexible and hard to pop with the usual methods. I attribute this to the many years I spent cracking it in crazy ways. Fortunately, I discovered an easy solution that works for me, and it only requires a bathtub!
Here are five steps to crack your own back:
- Wait until mid-day or later to do this because you want to work with loosened joints. This is very important! For some reason, this trick doesn't work in the early morning hours for me.
- Make sure the bathtub is dry if you are trying this method fully clothed. Sit in the tub with your knees bent in front of you. You should face the wall, keep your knees up, and have your shins either crossing over each other or facing the wall. Choose what makes you feel more comfortable. Your back should rest against the side of the tub farthest from the wall.
- Sit up straight and position yourself until you feel the edge of the tub between a vertebrae in your middle back. Place your hands on the wall or the opposite side of the tub (this depends on your height) and press against the wall slowly and firmly. This produces pressure on your back and should pop it. Your back may crack the first time you press against the wall, but don't give up if it doesn't.
- Continue sliding lower and lower in the tub. Push against the wall to pop each vertebrae. It's important to start in the middle of your back and work down.
- Start again from the middle of your back and work towards your upper back, sliding deeper into the tub to do so. When you reach the uppermost vertebrae under your neck, you should be rewarded with a nice loud crack. It feels great!
My inspiration for trying this method came from college, where I sat at a desk and did essentially the same thing. After I graduated, I didn't have any desks laying around to use and had to think of an alternative method. If this didn't work for you, don't give up! Instead, try popping your back either later on in the day or on a different day. I've used this method for years, and even then it doesn't work if I'm too wound up.
I grew up cracking just about every bone in my body. I remember my parents admonishing me when I cracked my knuckles, saying my joints would grow big and ugly if I continued doing so. I'm happy to say this was just a myth, and my knuckles are unchanged. I hope this unique way to crack your back helps you!
Did This Method Work for You?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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Amber on January 23, 2014:
Thank you soooo much for posting this! I have been in pain for days and this worked right away, finally RELIEF :) I really appreciate you sharing this, I will no doubt use this over and over again.
Mark on November 01, 2013:
You can also do it standing between a door frame, back against one side and push against the other.
matt_elmore from San Diego on June 28, 2013:
This is brilliant. I'm going to try this out next time I come across a bathtub.
Deb on May 12, 2013:
I've found a good way that doesn't hurt and will relieve a lot of pain and pressure and will pop it all out. The idea is to get a stretch in the back without straining. You absolutely should not push this hard. The movements should be gentle; no jerking. Lay on one side next to the edge of your bed. Support yourself so you don't fall off. Now, the leg that is on top, drop it down so it hangs past the bed. Now slowly and gently with the leg that has dropped, bring it forward and up, while curling, bending, curving your back and bringing your chin toward your chest. Press gently on the parts of your back where the pain is while doing this and you might find that you can just readjust things by pressing a little. Now switch to the other side of the bed and repeat. I find that one side pops way more than the other. Sometimes I can get a similar result from tucking one knee to my chest and giving a slight twist, but very, very carefully so as not to over strain.
gympopper on May 23, 2012:
I do this at the gym on the leg press machine. The weight on my legs in conjunction with pressing against the chair of the machine always cracks my back. I sometimes dream of going to the gym just for that! Perhaps I will finally get into tip top shape!
jess on May 18, 2012:
i sort of do the same thing.
i sit on the floor outside of the tub and lean back over the edge of the tub and support my head as if i am going to sit up into an abdominal crunch- doing so puts pressure between the vertebrae and makes the pop occur.i am going to try your other suggestion- i have the worst upper back/shoulder pain right now. any motion where i lift my head to look up sends sharp pain all through my neck and down my spine.
josh on May 10, 2012:
Arghhhhhhhhhh now I have a burning itch to crack my back but I was too tall to do it in the bathtub. :( Thanks for sharing though.
Bobbi C. on April 19, 2012:
I have been able to pop my neck and relieve my neck pain by laying on my back on the back seat of my 4-door mid-size car. I leave the car door open. Very slowly I inch my way toward the open door, gently laying my neck back over the edge of the seat. I have actually felt the vertebrae going back into place using this method. For the thoracic spine (between the shoulders) I have been able to relieve muscle spasms and pop this area of my back by laying backwards on a child's bouncing ball. I locate the ball at the lower end of my ribs and gradually roll the ball up to my neck as I am draped over the ball. This has been very effective for me as well.
Diane on April 13, 2012:
You can also do something like this on an upper bunk or from under a table. I am going to try the tub, though! I have arthritis everywhere but my neck and fingers and toes. Yes, the places I regularly pop. I'd love to learn how to pop my knees, elbows, and shoulders where I have so much trouble!
tulsa7035 on April 11, 2012:
Just as the author of this article has, I have popped my joints since the age of 5 from neck to toes including fingers, wrists, elbows, neck, shoulders, back, hip joints, knees, ankles, and toes. A chiropractor friend says this is merely moving the fluid from one side of the joint to the other. He says if everyone did as I do, it would put chiropractors out of business. Now at 67 I have inherited extreme arthritis from my grandfather, but because of keeping my joints limber by popping, there is only some pain in my lower back, and I am extremely agile. And, it's never to late to start relieving your own pain and becoming more limber! I'm living proof popping joints works. It feels like I'm a walking miracle. ~ Janice
Alex on April 03, 2012:
I'm 17, currently in high school, however I am on spring break! No desks! But getting up at 3 am to sit in the tub just made me be able to relax! Thank you!!!
Ron on March 16, 2012:
Great Hub! I honestly was looking at a school dest at a garage sale last year, lol I sat right down and cracked my back. As we pulled away I saw girl sit down and do the same thing. This really does work, I almost bought that chair just for that reason. Now I can just jump in the tub whenever I need my middle and upper back cracked.
I suffered with lower back pain for years. 10+ years to be more specific, you can check out my story at WWW.PopYourBack.com. It is more for lower back pain and includes how I pop my lower back.
I thought you and your readers might be interested.
Great Hub and Again Thank You !
ALPHAMALE on March 14, 2012:
Before you scrub that tub you need to go make me a sandwich...
bill on March 01, 2012:
I thought this was nonsense but as a lifelong cracker I needed to crack my back without the twist lying down. Since I'm on the short side I fit pretty good in the tub. I got two in the mid back and two between the shoulder blades. Thank you so much for sharing, the relief is wonderful.
Lacey on February 05, 2012:
wow ive never had this much relief thank u so much!!
Everything cracker on January 30, 2012:
For all those that can't manage to get the upper or lower back, try leaning back on the tub (like floating on your back, except the side of the tub supports you). Slide a little to get the sweet spots. It is better if you can press on something though. Those desks were great; I remember breaking a few of them. Another great trick is the top row of the bleachers at the local racetrack: I lay back on the metal bar, then "bench-press" the bar above me to force the crack. Works like a charm... and keeps me going to the races. A note of caution: avoid twisting while popping.
Dani on January 16, 2012:
I seriously thought I was the only one who did this with my desks in high school! I've missed them so much. In college, the desk seats are all made so the backs aren't firm, but flexible - so it's impossible to pop my back in them. I have a claw foot tub tho, so I bet this will work great, since these bathtubs are so large!
John on December 13, 2011:
Thanks for wasting my time. Seriously.
jordan on November 28, 2011:
I wish it worked for me but my bones are sensitive? My lower back hurt in the tub and my arms couldn't reach the wall..but thankyou for the tip, maybe ill use my yoga mat to line the tub and shall see if it works..great idea though
hurting back on November 10, 2011:
its my husbands back I have tried all there is to try, He just looks at me and says ok it did not work. He is a heavy set man I am always on his back with many lotions then he looks up and says just get off not working, Where can I make it work, I only weigh 112. He hurts all the time, Help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
otownoz on November 05, 2011:
Stunning Grandeur! This may be the greatest discovery since evolution!
So relieved on September 18, 2011:
OMG I love you. I feel like I should pay you. I have been looking high and low for the perfect place to accomplish this myself because I haven't been able to find someone with enough leverage to do it. Only problem now...I need a deeper tub or shorter legs. Thank you so much.
Grace on August 19, 2011:
I tried this tonight & it adjusted my mid back. I wasn't able to get movement in upper back. Not sure if that is because I'm 5'2" or if there's too much muscle tension. Thanks for the tip!
Missy on July 13, 2011:
OMG! Thank you so much! Just like you, I used my desks at school/college to pop my back, and since then, I haven't found a method to successfully release the tension in my upper back! I can't wait to go home and try this!
Luke on July 08, 2011:
I thought I was the only one who thought of this. But yes this method is amazing.
Julie on July 02, 2011:
Tension and stress had me kinked up for weeks.
This totally worked for me.
My back feels great today Thank you!
Julie on July 01, 2011:
Wow. It does help alot. Genious idea. Thank you soooo much.
Erin on June 28, 2011:
I never comment on pages like this, but i just wanted you to know that this helped me SO much. my back has been bothering me a lot lately and i've been trying to figure out how to crack my upper back and this worked perfectly! thank you so much!
Jessica on May 23, 2011:
I didn't believe it would work. I tried it and it felt SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDDDD!!!! This sh** works!!!!!
Tom on May 14, 2011:
Hey. I gave it a go and I can see how the curvature of the tub is just right and how handy it is to be able to push against the wall but unfortunately I can't cross my legs high enough to reach the part of my shoulder that i need to crack. I'm 6'3 and it's a spot about halfway up my shoulder blades that i need to crack. So frustrating! Thanks for the tip though :) I'll have to get a bigger tub.
Jillian on May 10, 2011:
I've been looking EVERYWHERE for techniques that worked, and your site came up. My back has NEVER felt this good. Thank you so much!!
Lolita on March 31, 2011:
I just typed in how to adjust your own midback and this site turned up. I tried it first time 10.30 P.M. and I cracked two main mid back that when out is so bad, it often interrupts my breathing (vertebrae often pinch nerves) From falls and car accidents, I've had to suffer when I can't afford constant chiropractors and my son isn't here to step on my mid back. WOW! God Bless you, for the relief you've given that will help soooo much
your best friend on March 08, 2011:
i had my doubts cause i tought it was foolish, but you are a superhero. ty very much
JoAnna on February 17, 2011:
Mackenzie on February 09, 2011:
This is the ONLY technique I've tried that has even somewhat worked. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Craig on December 13, 2010:
Oh My Gosh! That actually worked! I've had a pain my upper back & right shoulder for weeks. I'm a big guy 6ft/220 - and, I have a smaller tub - so it was probably comical to see. But, it totally worked!!!!! Thank you!
Et al... (author) on October 28, 2010:
Hi Everyone. Thanks for leaving comments. It's so neat to know this little trick I shared has brought you guys some relief.
I just figured out a new method for tractioning out my own upper neck and I included the link in the hub above at the bottom in an update.
Andy on October 26, 2010:
Thank you!!! This is amazing. Those stiff backed school chairs do the trick when I'm there, but not at home where I don't have access to them. I just hope in the tub once a day push on myself for 2 minutes and I'm golden! Thanks!
mr.moe on October 21, 2010:
Man, i uses to do that to. i graduated high school ten years ago and i have been missing those desks ever since. Why didn't i think of using the bathtub... thanks for the idea.
Chicago Nick on October 09, 2010:
Boy I have crippling MS and fall once in a while and fell a couple weeks ago and couldn't turn my neck for jack, been looking online, can't stand spending money at Dr's as I've found all MS treatments to be expensive and frankly a scam..
This worked like a charm although I almost thought I'd break my neck as it was about 3/4 the way up and it hurt just to touch the back of my office chair.
thank you. Excellent advice.
Jay on September 23, 2010:
Awesome. I am a 185 pound guy with a back that is hard to crack and my petite wife doesn't have the weight to do crack my back for me. This worked like a charm. I couldn't quite get my upper back, but this definitely did the trick for my mid-back. Thanks for the tip.
Thomas on August 25, 2010:
Thank You!!! Thank You!!! Thank you!!! I've been suffering for 4 days and there is no telling how many times I passed my tub. Thanks
Current high schooler on July 22, 2010:
I've been on summer vacation, and really the only reason I miss school is because the desks are so useful for back relief. I tried this method and although it didn't work, I think it will be better tomorrow with a "fresh" set of vertebrae. Thank you, fellow joint-popper!
Et al... (author) on July 16, 2010:
Thanks everyone for commenting! It makes me feel good to know I'm helping bring a few people relief out there. (Smile)
Jeanne on July 02, 2010:
Tried it, didn't work. My method is to stand straight and then bend over, letting my arms/hands hang down brushing the floor. Then I bounce my upper body up and down towards the floor. Incredibly cracks!
jp on May 27, 2010:
This is great! I had the exact same problem of not knowing what to do about my tight upper back after I graduated college and didn't have those lovely desk/chair combos to play with! Sometimes I can find someone who can do the bear hug and lift method but most people can't do it right. This tub method works better than anything else I have tried.
Ross P on May 22, 2010:
I did this bathtub thing and it actually worked. Like she said not in the morning. In the early afternoon after doing chores in the morning. I couldn't get my legs like she did but I manage to get in there enough to have three good cracks and it was instant relief. I already do my lower back and neck, now the mid back. Yeha I a happy camper.
backhurts on May 12, 2010:
i don't have a bathtub :(
Dave on May 05, 2010:
This worked very well for a jam up between my shoulders that I have had for 3 weeks! Thanks for sharing!
Mark on March 18, 2010:
Thanks for the tip, never would of thought of this myself. Went to two different chiropractors to try to get out kink in back to no avail, tried door jam, got it myself using this technique.
brett on February 13, 2010:
worked like a charm, thankyou. i needed this so bad!
BB on January 24, 2010:
Unfortunately my tub is too wide to do this properly. Those desks during high school were my saviors, and now every time I get a kink that won't go away in my back I have no way of getting it out, like right now. However, being able to simply lean back on the edge of the tub popped it in a few other places. Right now I've got a spot that's right between the vertebrae and right shoulder blade that hurts so bad but I know would be an easy fix if I just had someone to push on it :(
This is a nice tip though. Maybe I can find a friend with a smaller tub lol
R. Cappell on January 04, 2010:
Thank you so much for the effort you put in. Exactly what I was looking for! Pictures too. Thank you again.
Et al... (author) on November 13, 2009:
Em and Erik, So glad it worked for you. I know what sweet relief it can sometimes bring to me.
Erik on November 13, 2009:
ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my gods. Sweetheart, thank you a million billion jillion. I am nearly in tears of relief. You're magnificent.
Em on September 13, 2009:
Omg genius! I always used desks too and just didn't put it together to use a tub. Perfect! Thanks for the idea!
Et al... (author) on August 31, 2009:
Fellow back cracker: Did it work? I hope so.
Fellow back cracker on August 30, 2009:
Funny because the whole time i was reading this article I was thinking how I use to do this in middle school with those one piece desks, now i can do it on certain objects like tables and chairs. I have never cracked it high up by the neck and heard a loud crack I'll go try it.
Et al... (author) on August 07, 2009:
Thank you very much. My profile pic is from a photo I took of a tree in our backyard. My mother, who has dementia, created the face in her ceramics class. It's very special to me.
Pamela Laird on August 07, 2009:
Great profile pic--love it!!! And very interesting hubs.