Chronic back pain, have to pop/crack dozens of times a day

crackitccrackit Posts: 30
edited 07/16/2019 - 12:22 PM in Chronic Pain Forum

Hi, first post here. 

My back,  especially upper back is always tight and sore, and I need to constantly twist, stretch, etc to pop and crack parts of it at all different angles. It has gotten worse and it's the only way of relieving the pain. I wanted to ask if anyone on the other thread has had any developments, but since that's closed, does anyone else have any advice or ideas? 

It can't be normal to have to crack my back dozens and dozens of times every day. I have similar issues with my neck,  groin, and the very top part of my glute/hamstring - all provide some relief to my back pain. I'll often hold my hands behind my back, lean back and stretch them out, squeezing my shoulder blades together, sometimes it has to be very hard, but I'll usually get a solid crunch in the whole upper back area and the whole area feels loose and less pain. 

I also often feel like the side parts of some vertebrae almost stick together, so to loosen that up and provide pain relief I'll stretch it out by shifting one side of my hip/butt down and across while doing the opposite motion with my shoulder. I can hear and feel it go crunch, then it's loose and the pain is relieved. 

Physios have always just told me its nothing to worry about but to try not to crack it, which is unrealistic as its the only way to relieve my back pain. 

Any suggestions, advice, similar experiences etc. would be great to hear about! 

P. S.  I'm hypermobile.




  • AJGormitAAJGormit Posts: 1,618
    edited 07/23/2019 - 1:08 PM

    hi crackit

    Welcome to Veritas Health Forum

    i personally haven't had to perform cracking but i can understand why physios have said to try not to crack it.  have you ever had any diagnostic images taken to see what the problem is? 


  • crackitccrackit Posts: 30
    edited 07/16/2019 - 12:22 PM


    In the past I've had X-ray's, CT scans, mri. They've revealed building and degenerative discs. I've been told I don't have arthritis, but could potentially have seronegative arthritis.

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  • Hi, I just wanted to ask if by now you have been cured from this horrible back pain. 

    I have tried searching online hundreds of times for my symptoms and this forum thread is the only website that pops up that describes my condition and symptons, especially your post. I wish there were posts about people that have found a solution or diagnosis so that everyone can benefit. I hope you have been cured and if you have please let us know! 

    thanks :)

  • Hi Kayla,

    I have since followed this up with physiotherapists, massage therapists, personal trainer, my GP, and a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist has supposedly ruled out spondyloarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Frustrating because I was certain I had one of these. I had an X-ray on my lower back pelvic area and an mri or my thoracic spine. Dr can't explain it other than bad hypermobility. I'm seeing an osteopath, a new physiotherapist an exercise physiologist, going to try yoga and if all else fails, a chiropractor. 

    Wish I could find out what is wrong with me!

  • Hello,

    What is the latest news on your condition?

    I have a similar issue and am losing hope. It's been about a year since I started working in an office where my thoracic region right between the shoulder blades feels constantly stuck, like all the joints between my shoulder blades are jammed together. I, too, can only get momentary relief by cracking multiple times a day. It's so bad that I even need to -- and can get -- little pops by hunching my shoulders or pulling in my sternum. Is this what you are experiencing? 

    Nothing really works. I got a standing desk and a new bed. The chiropractor, Physical therapist, and massage have only provided temporary alleviation of my symptoms to the point where I have fewer bad days, but if I stop going to any of these I eventually start having pain every day again. Currently I am taking a muscle relaxant which seems to help only a little bit. My pain is worse in the morning and at the end of the day. The best relief can only be done at home which is rolling over a foam roller to get a massive pop in the problem area. However, this is only temporary and if i attempt it too soon after my last crack it just hurts. 

    Sorry for rambling a little bit I just don't know where else to turn. 


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  • Hi 

    I too have the same problem. I feel the constant need to crack my back a thousand times a day and I am getting so frustrated. 

    I have had this problem for many years and don’t know what to do. 

    I sometimes even bring my shoulders forward just to also get a pop, find myself leaning back on whatever I can find for a crack. If I don’t, it’s unbearable and is the only way I can relieve myself of the pain. 

    I haven’t done anything about it, as I just assumed it will go away eventually but it hasn’t. 

    I would go to the gp but want to lose weight before I do so because I think it could be that, (all my weight goes to my stomach and drags it down, could that be why, I don’t know.. ) 

    But it’s been unbearable 

  • Hi all, just an update, 

    Kenton, what you described Is exactly the same as what I experience.

    Over the last few months I've tried Osteopath, which provided temporary relief, but even straight after her manipulations, I still had the tightening, locking sensations and cracked myself to relieve. Interestingly, she noticed I have scoliosis, and the side that my spine locks up is the one that bends in/shorter. After her manipulations, the curve was less, indicating muscular issue. I gave up seeing her after a few appointments.

    Went to a new physiotherapist, and he did dry needling, which helped temporarily.

    I've been seeing an exercise physiologist, and it's been great. Focus on strengthening supportive muscles. Both the physio and exercise physiologist believe what is happening with me is due to the wrong muscles being activated and overworked. This causes muscle fatigue, spasms, tightening. They still can't explain the cracking, other than its maybe due to tendons/ligaments etc sliding around. 

    Wish I had something more conclusive. My exercise physiologist thinks the issue will get better over time with proper exercise treatment, so I have to be patient and put in the work. 

    Does anyone else have Joint Hypermobility Syndrome?

  • Jerome001Jerome001 Cocoa Beach, FloridaPosts: 327

    Prior to multiple fusions I had a lot of spine noise that I used to refer to as pouring milk on rice crispies. I even used to ask my kids, when they were small, to walk on my back and make it crack to feel better. Since my multiple fusions I've learned that cracking and popping is often made by bone on bone in your spine and not to do that as it may aggravate the underlying issue - don't know if that applies to everyone but the point was made to me by the spine docs and professionals. Did a NS or OS read your MRIs or only look at the reports? My OS doesn't look at the reports but goes to the images as he feels he is more proficient and I have to say he seems to always be right with his diagnoses.

  • crackitccrackit Posts: 30
    edited 10/16/2018 - 9:51 PM

    My Rheumotologist looked at the X-ray and mri. 

    Just yesterday I went to a spine clinic and saw a doctor who is doing more investigating. Getting a nuclear bone scan. He thinks it could possibly  be DISH syndrome. He too looked at the scans.

  • FYI went back to doc today for results from my nuclear medicine bone scan. It showed some normal wear and tear but nothing major. 
    Once again, I'm left back at square 1: my joint hypermobility syndrome is causing the issue throughout my body, and although my joints seem OK, it is likely wearing out the ligaments. Doc has advised to stop cracking to prevent from getting worse, and to try pain management/psychology and maybe a spine physio. Glad it's nothing serious, but it is serious to me, and I'm feeling frustrated about not being able to clearly find a fix. 
    Hopefully the mods don't ever lock this thread. Perhaps one day someone will stumble upon this and offer some insight.
  • crackit  be glad it is nothing serious. yes, it seems problematic, but it appears it will be resolved and you need be patient(?). I know I will need a psychologist at some point :)

  • @crackit I have the same feeling as you and others about the need to crack my back. I also feel the need to crack my neck too. It feels like this tightness between my shoulder blades and the only thing I can do is constantly crank or stretch the muscles out. I'm not sure if it's a nervous/ anxiety type thing or stress or if something else is wrong. I have had MRI's and xrays and nobody has said anything looks weird, besides my lumbar which I just had surgery on 6 weeks ago. 

  • Update: I've been trying to crack less. Went to the gym yesterday and would normally crack my joints to loosen up before lifting. This time I didn't, and guess what happened... Injured my lower back, just as I predicted! I give up. Can't live a life of constant pain and injuries. Unless I get dry needling every day there is nothing else that will loosen me up other than cracking. 

  • Crackit I too am hypermobile and all day every day in pain and needing to crack my back my neck my shoulders. I have had an mri and been told some bulging in lower disc yet no issues and been tested for arthritis yet was negative. At my wits end with this and cannot cope with this for rest of my life, been suffering for 4 years all day every day. Too much want to get to the end of this surely hyperomobility syndrome must have treatment or a relief for the constant pain. I can understand what your feeling I feel like nobody understands what I m talking about and just being extreme. It takes me ages to sit comfortably and even if bed at night I am constant rolling about trying to crack shoulders and get comfy and wake up so tiff like I need to be run over with a steam roller!

  • Hello! Unfortunetely I too have the exact same symptoms like you guys (crackit 100%). 2 years in. I was thinking.. maybe we should write a few things about our selves to try to find something in common, what we did or what we are doing wrong. I will start and I hope you will add something too.

    I am 36 years old, very much like eggs, meat, bbq's, would drink about 4 to 6 beers when I go out. If I look back now I can't remember myself ever pouring a glass of water and drinking it, so I did really not drink enough water for sure. I slept on a very soft matress for the last 3 years because my wife liked it and I didn't really care. I stopped smoking 3 months ago but smoked for 15 years. 3 years ago started taking pills for lowering blood pressure, my pressure is ussualy around 130-140 and 90-100 now. I am at 85kg now but was 94kg a year ago, i am going down to my ideal 75kg slowly but surely. I work in an office and ocasionaly go out. I always had a popping, cracking sternum without pain. With this back problem, first came the pain under my left shoulder blade, no cracking..My doctor said it's a muscle knot, so I went to a masseuse. After every massage it felt good because the guy could really find the spot. But after 10 or 15 massages I started feeling pain on the right side, same place. I stopped massaging and did nothing. After a month or so, I felt so stiff, so I started bending a little, that's how I got the first crack and god it felt good. At first it would only crack on one side, after a few days the other side would crack too. Now I am here and I would crack my back about 10 to 20 times a day and sometimes after cracking I feel so sore I would rather die, it really hurts...but I would slowly feel better again. Maybe this all sounds silly but I don't know where else to look for answers, doctors don't really have a clue. Oh I almost forgot: l also started having neck pain and pain in my left leg at the top where the bone connects to the pelvis (isciatic pain??) What's helping me: walking, slow running, sleeping on a hard floor with yoga mat only and a very thin pillow (helps a lot), warm baths, pushups, loosing weight, exercising.. I really changed my everyday, started walking-jogging, stopped smoking, stopped drinking, eating a lot of fruit & vegetables, fish, nuts... Drinking water 3l a day and other things.. That's it for now.. I hope I don't get any bad replies...

    We have to beat this!!!

  • That Sounds like pretty much the exact same thing as I have. It's reassuring to know there are others out there, although frustrating we are all left scratching our heads about it. I too am finding lifestyle changes to be of benefit, but obviously not a cure. Thanks for chiming in dherma!

  • Thanks for this thread. I'm in similar situation. Crack addict!! I feel like pressure builds up on my spine, and as if it's fusing together. Amazing relief when it cracks. One point high up thoracic won't though, my physio only does gentle manipulation if it goes. I have general muscle pain and trigger points all over. Did have old injuries that may contribute. Have been in trouble daily since my last pregnancy, twins, 3 years ago. Flare ups could be hips, shoulders, neck. Constant pain in one shoulder and arms and hands. I feel it is all coming from the spine. Like that's the root of it. I have referral to rheumatologist but to be honest seems like it will cost a fortune and I don't think they will actually find anything, especially reading all your experiences. 

    How are ye all doing?

  • I have just about everything you say is going on this you.  Whatever our condition is is very hard to research on the internet because it seems to be rare or just not talked about much outside of a few message boards.

    For a year I've been dealing with chronic back tightness in my thoracic spine, neck, and low back on left side.

    My tightness is always there, but it's mostly brought on when I'm standing.  My muscles that surround my thoracic spine need cracked like a 100 times per day.  It sounds like snapping a handful of uncooked spaghetti noodles when I crack my back.  When I get flares of extreme tightness is when I can't crack my back hardly at all. 

    This back tightness also feels sore, and I can mostly feel that soreness if I try to hunch my shoulders upwards or hunch my upper back upward. 

    This back tightness also makes my neck feel spasmed at times which also brings on tension headaches that cause my eyes to feel like I have a sinus infection or something.  Just constant pressure.   Also when I look down and touch chin to chest I get a pain in my rhomboid area that hurts my right scapula area.  I also get a sharp pulling pain on my left side of my neck that shoots into my shoulder.

    I've had bouts of dizziness here and there.  Sometimes I think it's anxiety that's making me feel that way because I do have really bad anxiety days because of this chronic pain, but I did have a week a few months ago where I dealt with full on vertigo.  It has since gone away.

    The only time I feel comfortable is bedtime.  Being off my feet gives me relief.  Usually in the mornings my neck and thoracic back will feel really stiff as if I was beat up the day before. 

    Every once in a while i'll discover something that gives me random relief of symptoms but it never lasts.  Like the other time I for whatever reason tried to pimch my shoulder blades together while also pushing down on a desk all in one drastic motion and it gave me this deep sounding pop in my cervical spine area.  like 3 or 4 pops all at once.  All the sudden tightness was gone.  tension in my eyes was gone.  everything was gone.  Sad thing is it didn't last and all came back again like 5 minutes later. 

    Ive tried chiropractic stuff which didn't help.  I'm currently in physical therapy, but as of right now it hasn't fixed it, but ive only been there twice so far.   xrays were normal.   

    I have an appointment with an orthopedist next month.  I hope at the very least they can at least give me something for the pain so that I can be more comfortable in the meantime.  I'm very worried that it's going to be yet another appointment somewhere that ends up with me just explaining my issues and then end up leaving with no medication and another appointment made.  I've yet to be given any proper medication for the type of pain im going through and its been a year.

  • But yes, like you, I crack what feels like my muscles in my back all day long everyday because it's the only thing that helps.

  • Literally signed up to spine-health simply for this thread. I'm following, I experience the same issues, constant popping of the back and neck and even hips. I've become quite the professional popper actually, if a small spot in my back needs popping I've figured out how to do quick little jolts and jerks that will pop that specific area. But boy do I suffer if I can't find relief.

    I'm 25 and have experienced this at various levels since I was fresh out of high school. At that point it wasnt nearly as bad. I went to a chiropractor and that helped a little, but I haven't sought another professional opinion. Probably because I'm a little terrified. I keep telling myself I can handle it, I can do it, I'm trying to stay strong. But here lately it's been every moment of my waking AND sleeping life. I look ridiculous sometimes with all the popping. This isn't normal.

  • It's somewhat reassuring knowing there are others with the exact same condition as me. I'm glad this thread is still going and hope mods don't ever close it. This could potentially lead to helping us all one day and I encourage everyone to share their journeys. 

    I've gotten worse. Dry needling DEFINITELY helps relieve the symptoms more so than most approaches for me. It has to be done properly though and get big kicks and spasms. Only temporary relief though and I can't do it every day. Does everyone else have hypermobility syndrome? I believe this is the root cause. 

    I've been trying cbd oil with no luck. One thing I noticed that almost fixed all my symptoms on thoracic spine was sleeping on the floor. It completely removed the tightness and need to crack, but ended up hurting my shoulder and didn't help the pelvis. My pelvis has gotten really bad lately. 

    Another thing that completely takes away the tightness for me is psilocybin mushrooms. Again, only temporary as it completely relaxes the muscles. 

    I'm now looking into peptides BPC-157 and TB-500 as a last resort. I'm still trying exercise, lifting weights and now Pilates, but I'm not holding my breath. I'm 30 and really not looking forward to getting any older as its all getting worse. 

  • I used to crack back all the time and have facet joint hypertrophy but mainly because of Degenerative Disc Disease and herniated discs. I don't purposely crack anymore as was told not to. But sometimes you move a certain way and it locks back in place it seems. Lots of water.

  • Crack it

    I've been reading your posts and it seems that we have same symptoms. I have chronic lower backpain for yrs. Started sleeping on carpet for 3 wks and miraculously the pain were gone but developed upper back pain. Upper back tighten up when I get out of bed and it hurts a little on left torso when taking a deep breath. Xray revealed I have mild scoliosis. I tried pt but it doesnt help. I'm 35, Male and sometimes holding my 2yr old is difficult because of the pain. My bed is new. Chiropractor pop my back and found reliefs. But after several sessions I stopped going because the manipulation required me to pop my back more frequently. I dont know what to do. Hoping and praying there is help somewhere. Thank you all for sharing 

  • yes, laying on a hard floor feels good for me as well. 

    New symptom I’ve started dealing with lately that seems to be sticking with me.     My matacarpal bones on the tops of my hands where it meets the wrists are beginning to bother me.  They’re grinding and they hurt if I take a lid off something or bending them for any reason.    

  • I really think we all have a form of arthritis going on.  With their being so many forms of arthritis that exist it’s so hard to figure out which one. 

    At this point I just wanna manage the pain for starters.  Steroid injections are what I’m looking for because oral steroids to take a lot of my upper back pain away because I had pneumonia over the winter and prednisone not only helped my pneumonia, but took a lot of my chronic back pain away too

  • Hi,

    I am reading this online as I search google and had to join to discuss as I am in the identical spot as you and have been for 3 years now. I have had numerous Xrays, MRI's, etc with same feedback which is all clear. But every morning waking up with stiffness in my midback and under the shoulder blades. I have found the only thing that makes me feel better is to work out an stretch. I have a long history of contact sports and Hobbies Kickboxing, Hockey, Dirt Bikes, Wake/Snow Board. I have been relatively active but no matter what I do i wake up in the morning with the same stiffness. Some days are better than others but i crack and pop dozen+ times a day.

    What I can share is a recent diagnosis I received from HSS here in NYC. Facet Joint Syndrome. I read up on it and it makes alot of sense but the steriods they put me on did nothing to relieve the issue. The other diagnosis I have received from a doctor is Anterior Pelvic Tilt which also makes a ton of sense since I started sitting alot more when this issue really started kicking in. My hip flexors are so tight from sitting plus years of hockey and heavy weights that its throwing my upper back out and helping cause my forward leaning head position. In addition to this add the use of cell phones texting and looking down and you have a perfect storm of bad posture. Rhomboids are weakened. Lastly my current PT therapist has been attaking the issue with the "McKenzie Method" all focused on eliminating the forward leaning head. If you have what feels like Trap and neck paid he said it is not the trap it is the "First Rib" which reading more about that makes all the sense in the world too why I am also having nerve issues at times.

    I find this thread helpful to make me realize I am not alone because I am recently been convinced I have some rare neurological disorder that Dr's are not diagnosing but the more I read the more I feel that the age of Sitting, Typing, Texting is the real culprit here and that ontop of years of sports and traumas have all caught up.

    Look forward to hearing more from others about their experiences.

  • I too have pelvic tilt and very tight hip flexors. Can't seem to loosen them. For the past 6 months I've had pain in my left hip flexor, left groin and what I think is my left sacrotuberous ligament (between tail bone and sitting butt bone).

    Would be good if people can indicate whether they have a hypermobility syndrome diagnosis, as I've been told this is the root cause of my issues. 

  • Do you get tension headaches in the eyes and back of head? I seem to always have this pressure to some degree with my back tightness.  

    I also always find myself especially at work having a hard time focusing.  Like I get lost in my own head. 

  • Latest update with me 

    Last night before bed I started having spasms all over.  I take 800MG of IBprofin and go to bed.  I’m never in bed. 

    I wake up this morning and I feel really good. I can turn my neck from side to side with no pain and my back isnt stiff. 

    10 minutes later after being in my feet here comes the back pressure.   Ribs in back feeling squeezed and neck mobility slowly not being pain free as it was when I woke up 

    Idk what to make of it 

  • I get occasional headaches but doesn't sound like I experience what you do sorry mate. 

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