Already have an account?
New here? Create an account and join.
Learn how a lumbar disc herniates and
can cause lower back pain
Sciatica is leg pain caused by a
problem in the low back.
See how a disc degenerates and how it can cause pain and other symptoms
HI I am new to this Forum and so excited to find this after searching for months for some relief in my mid back thoracic area. I have tried massages, reiki healing acupunture, mattress topper, exercise, heat etc... It started back in October 2019. I woke up one morning with horrible pain and I have moments of relief with sun, hikes, movement, standing desk but early morning, sleep laying down and evening tends to get worse for me. I am hoping to find out ways to manage. OH also I did have x rays and just mild degeneration in my Thoracic area or arthritis. Currently doing PT and praying to get some relief, again good days and bad days. I especially have pinching in my scapula muscle area only on the left side and only during evening, mornings and laying down. I have read some of the posts here and finally feel like I have found a place I can vent since I feel like such a downer with friends and family. I guess you are all dealing with this too in different ways. Is there any advice I can get on how to manage this? Also taking a ton of supplements for joint health and trying to control inflammation. Would appreciate any advise, validation or help. The only thing that relieves me is Advil and I am worrying about ruining my liver so I take it sparingly and suffer with the pain. Thank you for listening to me ramble. Much appreciate.
I have all these symptoms to a T as well. Also my sister. Has anyone done any EDS/connective tissue disease genetic testing? Has anyone tried Prolotherapy? This is a tough battle.
@meoconnell I have been tested and don't have eds, but do have joint hypermobility syndrome, which I believe is the root cause of my thoracic spine problems.
Unfortunately my condition is only worsening no matter what I do. Stretching and cracking definitely helps temporarily.
I have just started Low Dose Naltrexone and will give an update after some more time. I am also going to try PEA. Both of these are safe potential treatment options for chronic pain. I'm also going to try prolotherapy, as well as high dose pregnenolone.
I am also now having the same problems in my right hip at the front.
@crackit (or anyone) -
Has anyone looked into psychological trauma as a potential cause?
I've had this exact issue for going on 23 years. I've had several MRIs and xRays over the years which indicate some minor issues but none too alarming to the physicians. I've tried chiropractors, physical therapy, massage, different pain meds, accupuncture, facet injections, a Toradol shot and an epidural. The Toradol shot was amazing but relief only lasted the 1st of the 5 days it was supposed to. The only was I've found to manage is with a 2hr massage every other week or so but that gets expensive.
A little background - I've been an athlete most of my life, until recently. Primarily contact sports. I've also been in an accidental or two. My MRIs and xRays are over a decade apart and are from both before and after my accidents. There is no difference in the minor issues I mentioned previously... the images are pretty much identical.
I have scoliosis (28 degree curve). When I was 16 I was involved in a wreck and whenever I would twist my back/turn to my right I would sometimes feel a sharp/uncomfortable pain on my lower back - It also never went away since then. But going to the chiropractor regularly for an adjustment was the only thing that worked for me. My doctor also specialized in sports medicine (some chiropractors don't and I highly recommend looking for one who does even if you are not active. They are more hands on with deep tissue massages during the adjustment as well.) Now I will say when I stopped going to my chiropractor, the pain got worse/the sharp pain is more intense and lasts longer. Today I find myself popping my back more throughout the day, every day... versus when I would go to the chiropractor regularly (back then I probably would pop my back once or twice if that in between visits).
But if I may be frank, I came across this page in hopes to see if there was another solution. (My childhood Chiropractor no longer takes insurance and when I tried other chiropractors they were not the same or I didn't notice a difference after the adjustment.) I have tried physical therapy and orthopedic doctor, but nothing worked compared to (edit)
But a few tips for temporary relief is heating up a wet towel in the microwave. This works better than a heating pad. Don't sleep on your stomach.
It's strange to be excited that there are more people experiencing the same pain & discomfort that you are. I thank you all for your comments and wish none of us had to resort to an online platform to try to figure out what's wrong with us.
I am 30/F with no history of physical issues or injuries. I am anemic with a history of mental health issues for about a decade. Last January I fell down stairs and broke small bones in my wrist and injured my elbow. After everything healed I started going back to yoga (I was never a regular but just every now and again like a fad diet). After the first week it was nice but I noticed instead of feeling better for a long period of time I felt this desire to constantly crack my upper back. It started on the right side behind my shoulder blade, and I thought it was related to my fall (as I fell on my right side). My Xrays only revealed mild scoliosis but I dont know the degree of curvature.
I am currently constantly pulling, twisting, tugging, and manipulating my body to get the perfect pops and cracks for maybe up to 10 minutes of relief. I barely sleep now, I'm always uncomfortable, massages are great but provide nearly no relief (unless it's an Asian spa where they have a little more aggressive technique than the typical massage envy type of establishment).
I end up sore from most massages because I need them to go deeper and harder just so I can have some sense of comfort, but then it never really last .
My current areas of discomfort is my neck and upper back and occasionally mid to lower back. I once thought I nearly broke my neck trying to get a crack and ended up in the ER (turns out it was a muscle spasm afterwards) but I suppose I tugged and twisted too hard .
I'm a veteran and healthcare isn't optimal, but describing what I've experienced to my doctors made them look at me as if I'm making things up or that I've lost my mind and couldn't get a referral to see an chiropractor. I just cracked my neck and left shoulder about 9 times just typing this. I've taken up yoga again and just trying to be active and healthy, but also wanting to go a few days without twisting and pulling myself like pretzel dough - especially during professional meetings with my
I am 28/ M with no pre-existing conditions. From age 17-28 I’ve been going to cardiologists, spine specialists, chiropractors, physical therapists off and on for chest tightness, back tightness and always feeling the need to crack my back. The cracking would temporarily relieve my symptoms for a short period of time. In June 2019 I was diagnosed with upper extremity DVT In my axillary/ subclavian veins. (Paget-Schrotters syndrome) I didn’t seek out treatment or a diagnosis rather I had superficial veins, a lump under my armpit and was extremely fatigued and had more chest pain than usual. The clot was successfully removed through thrombolysis. A few weeks later I had first rib resection and scalenctomy and immediately felt the weight lifted off my shoulders (literally). I have since fully recovered and returned to normal activities. The discomfort and pain I felt for 10 years was gone.
I should have prefaced my post with “I’m not a physician but,” it’s possible some of the upper back/ shoulder/ neck symptoms some of the posters are experiencing could be due to TOS. There are neurogenic, venous, atrial thoracic outlet syndrome. I have seen plenty of athletes with neurogenic TOS have their symptoms go undiagnosed for years since it’s not a common condition.
I’m not saying anyone has TOS as there are 1,000’s of other conditions you COULD have but, if it hasn’t been looked at and you’re struggling to find an answer like I was for years you could ask your Dr. to take a look and to see if it’s something you have or rule it out.
I have a lot of the same problems as everybody. I am a 24 year old female and I have had these back problems for as long as I can remember.
In 2017 I went to a doctor to help me with my pain and they told me to stretch *eye roll*. I feel like I am stretching and cracking my upper back and neck a million times a day.
A new problem I have developed is I feel like I need to constantly crack my face/jaw now because it is all connected with my neck and upper back. My sister is a nurse and I told her about how I feel like I have a face twitch because I am constantly “cracking” (it’s not really cracking) my face/jaw. Sometimes I even hold my nose and blow like I am popping my ears because it relieves the pain for a quick second. Does anybody else have this problem along with the back/neck pain?
Also, I wouldn’t call mine “pain”. I saw someone compare it to “an itch that can’t be scratched” which I feel like this problem is for me because it is a CONSTANT annoyance and uncomfortableness.
And I take like 4 hours to fall asleep because I am constantly rolling and stretching around in bed, every night.
Hi everyone, I have likewise decided to sign up to participate in this thread of people who have the same problem in common the constant need to self adjust and crack to release tension between the shoulder blades. I similar to a lot of you have seen about 10 different specialists and done months and months of stretching and posture exercises prescribed by physios and chiropractors nothing makes it disappear.
I am 33, have had this problem for over 10 years and am very active having done many marathons and an ironman. I have bought many special pillows, neck extending hammock etc. Exercise, and stretching help but after a few hours it's back to square one.
Some people have suggested this in the group, but I think this problem whilst triggered by something physical is basically a phsycological problem. I also have fairly bad OCD and this causes me to respond strongly to discomfort. I crack my wrist as often as I crack my back. My OCD also means that I pick my lips often making them bleed because I am worried my lips are chapped. All these ticks increase when I am stressed or anxious.
It is nice to find a community of people that understand what I am going through but it is clear that basically nobody has successfully kicked the habit. It leads me to think that this is a severe form of addiction to self manipulation, and the more manipulation is done the more addicted and reliant you get.
Has anyone tried any psychological therapy for chronic conditions like this or even hypnotherapy? I am starting to look into this now
I relate to so many people on here. I crack my back hundreds of times of day. Just rolling my shoulders back or forward does the trick. Sometimes I lean up against something and stretch back. The pops relieve most of the pain for a VERY SHORT amount of time before it’s time to crack again.
It gets worse with the following:
Laying on my stomach
Sitting (makes it a ton worse)
What makes it better:
I’ve been dealing with this since 2011, and I’m 28 years old now. It’s causing me to lose sleep and deal with pain literally every waking moment. I’ve tried PT, dry needling, chiropractors and cryotherapy. All offer a level of relief, but all were temporary. Dry needling was the best. I created an account just to follow this to see if anyone has found a true
Desperate for relief...
Hi, so just an update I am on day 4 of not clicking my own back! This is the longest period with no self manipulation for about 10 years!
After reading through all the comments and my view about this being a psychological problem of physical addiction to self manipulation I have tried to use the COVID lockdown as an opportunity to kick the habit.
I am trying to do all the things that help to get my back into the best place it can be, and then using willpower to do the rest to get back to normal.
Doing yoga twice a day
Doing 20 mins hard exercise like quick running
Sleeping on the floor
Using a pillow specially designed for upper back pain
Using a laptop raiser that can raise so high that I look up not down
Using a brace from amazon that pulls my shoulders backwards and using that whilst I work all day
Using a load of willpower and when I feel I need to crack I take a break from whatever I am doing and do 5 mins of the yoga moves that seem to best ease the pressure
It is not easy at all, especially when work gets stressful, but I have moments especially after yoga where I feel like a normal person. No pressure between shoulder blades, no need to click... let me tell you, to feel that is amazing.
I will report back
Hi there everyone,
So happy this thread is still going so that I can join in too! While I'm relieved to see other people are having the same experience as me, I'm saddened at the fact that no one seems to have found out what it is or a cure.
I'm pregnant and finding it very hard as this is the most painful it has ever been and I'm limited as to what I am able to do to help with the pain. Normally lying on my back in the floor would give a bit of temporary relief but with being pregnant I can't do that and am very limited as to what pain killers I can take.
@Andy86 Good luck with that. Whenever I try to not manipulate /crack, the pain gets worse and muscles spasm and cramp. And my back concaves in.
Question: when you're doing yoga, does your back crack?
Even when I try not to deliberately crack it, it happens anyway, through normal movements, lifting arms, turning head, stretching, lifting etc.
Just an update on my situation:
I've been taking low dose naltrexone for the chronic pain. I think it has helped a little bit but not as much as I was hoping. Going to increase my dose and also look at adding in PEA for chronic pain.
Has anyone tried prolotherapy?
Hi, my name is Bruno, I am 26 years old and suffer from the same issue.
I have Joint hypermobility syndrome, and this makes me have to crack my groins, coccyx, low back / back, neck (two different angles, 45º and 90 º).
I work on IT and I teach ballroom dance twice a week.
On normal days I pop approx. 5 times during the whole day (except by neck, ~10).
On very stressful days, I crack up to 30 times, and this normally gets me on very high fever for a couple of minutes.
I am still trying to figure out the best way to avoid the cracking, and the best solution I found so far was to learn how to control my heart rate, stress, diet and physical activities.
Recently I found out that eating pineapple helps on controlling the inflammation of all these areas, so every time I feel a lot of pain, I eat every 3 hours a mix of fruits, where pineapple is 70%.
... and it's been working like a charm, I feel the relief almost immediately.
Please let me know your comments!
@crackit yes my back and neck does crack a lot when I do yoga, and at times during the day when I move. It is definitely not cured.
I have been consciously try not to self crack for 1 month now. Day to day it feels better than when I cracked a lot, but I still have times where the tension is so high that if I don't do yoga immediately I would start doing all the movements to make it crack as I did before. Also the same two vertabre are the ones that always crack most during yoga.
When it is this hard to stop doing it I have been tempted to give up and seek the quick relief of a self adjustment. I still have to stop myself often from doing those same movements. I have mostly been able to stop myself however, as due to Yoga, sleeping on floor with rolled towel between my shoulder blades, my working position looking upwards - all of these things seem to be helping enough for my back not to be in so much pain.
I do not know how long it will take before my vertebrae start moving as normal again, and for the two hyper mobile vertabre to stop clicking, I think quite a few months...
Anyway, I will try to keep it up for now as I am feeling more healthy and in less pain than before
I have started going to an awesome physical therapist for my back, which normally cracks constantly and feels like awful pressure and pain between my spine and right shoulder blade. Usually, sitting a lot makes it worse, and running and other exercises can set it off.
He started by doing dry needling to help some overactive muscles release. It felt like they relaxed for the first time in 15 years! I was skeptical at first, but highly recommended dry needling. We did that once a week for a few weeks, and it has helped me to focus on strength work with less discomfort.
In addition, I am hypermobile. We are working to strengthen my mid and upper back and shoulders to keep my shoulder blades in alignment even when I move. I learned that I am constantly pulling my shoulders back (into a slight back bend), and have been overusing the muscles and not letting them relax. I am working on neutral shoulder alignment, and actually relaxing my muscles when they don't need to work.
He thinks I am very sensitive to any tightness in that spot, since I have dealt with it for so many years. One great way to interrupt the pain cycle is to use a TENS unit, which is electrical stimulation on the muscles. It works better than any pain medication!
I am still in pain and discomfort on and off, but much less than before! I hope it continues to improve with my PT work. Maybe these things can help someone else too:
- Physical therapy for hypermobile joints
- Dry needling
- TENS unit stimulation
Hi everyone! One more here!! Exactly the same symptoms....
Right now the pain is everyday, an annoying stiffness in the mornings when I wake up and uncomfortable feelings during the day. At night I can't work on my desk because I feel so much tension in my muscles like if I was working during 3 days without pausing (I have the most ergonomically desk you can imagine). I went to a doctor yesterday and she ordered me X-Rays and a blood test, but after reading this blog I am sure there won't appear anything to worry about.
I hope we can find a solution to this together.
Greetings from Mexico
I’ve been following this post for several months now and figured I should share. I am a 30 year old female, normally very active (marathon runner, was training for Ironman prior to all this). I first noticed a small twinge in my right lower back about 4 years ago, and that I could easily crack this area by bending to my right side. I didn’t think much of it until a few months later when I realized I was cracking that spot constantly at work. I thought I would address it before it worsened, so I saw a chiro but it didn’t seem to help. So, I let it be and figured it would work itself out. Over the next few years I slowly developed lower back pain in that area on and off, and the cracking spread up my spine all the way to my neck and became painful. It was pretty annoying but tolerable up until around 6 months ago (yay 2020!), when it became so painful I had to take time off work and rely on family to help with daily tasks. I have tried everything to fix this, I have seen 4 chiropractors, 3 PTs, a neurologist, two primary doctors and a rheumatologist with no luck finding the source of my problem. Tried dry needling and deep tissue massage which helped very temporarily (not more than a couple hours). Running a slow mile here and there or going on a few long walks seems to help on the days I am able. A few weeks ago I was prescribed narcotics for the pain. I had really hoped to avoid this because I hate medication, but honestly it gets me through the day so I am thankful. I work in healthcare myself and it feels disheartening to be “on the inside” because I know just how much (or little) doctors know. My quality of life is very low at this point and my mental health is suffering . So I will continue to rule things out until there is nothing left. Next up is a gyno appointment. I doubt it is gyno-related but I recently spoke with a friend of a friend who pretty much had my exact symptoms (for 10 years) and it turned out to be endometriosis. She had a surgery and her pain is 100% gone. It’s totally a long shot but if there’s even a chance, to me it is worth investigating. Take care everyone
Does anyone have a family history of auto immune disorders?
Post deleted per forum rule: 3.09 Do not publish proprietary or unauthorized content or materials in the Veritas Health Forum without permission as doing so may violate copyright law. Any outside content or material directly quoted must include a reference to the source from which it came.
SandraVeritas Health Forum Moderator
GOOD NEWS to everybody!!
As I mentioned before, I have also been dealing with the same symptoms for 4 years (I can clearly say the symptoms were getting worse) and also following this forum for a year and a half. However, I am glad to be able to tell you my story since it seems that I achieved a considerable improvement and today I can say that I feel healthy for the first time in a long time. I quickly tell you my story:
After many doctors, I was finally diagnosed with OMS (Over-Manipulation Syndrome), apparently it is not something so common since I have already seen several doctors and had gone through all the common analyzes without any particular finding. Apparently my symptoms were gradually growing since, without realizing it, every time I felt a tension in my back or neck, my brain looked for short-term relief through a good crack, however, every time I did this, my ligaments lost their stability and long-term health, which made me feel worse and worse. As a result, increased muscle tension and more feelings of discomfort through time. What was my answer? yep... cracking. This became a vicious cycle since in addition, every time gas is released from the joints, endorphins are released into the bloodstream, it is clear that my brain crave to crack my back and neck both consciously and unconsciously.
This explains many of my symptoms, since in my case, working at a desk, having stress or carrying a heavy backpack worsened them, these happened because my ligaments had been over-stretched so long that the joint and muscle tension increased quite a lot due to their anormal weakness. I was practically 100 times more sensitive to any issue affecting my back or neck than any normal person.
Finally, after understanding this, I stopped cracking definitively (I had already tried this strategy without success in past years, but when I learned that the cause was the laxity of my ligaments, something inside me gave me the discipline to try it again) For the first month I had to take anti-inflammatories and putting on ice, massages, and just going to bed when I felt the need to crack. I had several spasms, but the doctor explained that this was a good sign, since these were messages from my body to try to immobilize the area so that it could heal.
Week 1: Hard enough but highly motivated, I took anti-inflammatories and I also took holidays so you don't have to work at my desk.
Week 2: Same as the previous one but a little bit worse.
Week 3 The most difficult, my motivation fell a little when I saw that there were days that I felt very bad and no signs of improvement.
Week 4: Finally a couple of days of relief, I almost cried off happiness but I still had some discomfort and spasms. (I stopped taking medications)
Week 5: I cannot believe that from one day to the next my condition has vanished by 90% and I am no longer in the habit of cracking which made it a very easy week, my mobility improved and I noticed that making normal movements that before would make my joints crack without intension, now produced any crack.
Week 6: I no longer feel my back or my neck (that is a good definition of heath) I can get to the end of the day without feeling pain, I am very happy!!
Week 7 (currently): I am quite well, if one day I do not sleep in the right position, I might get up with a bit of rigidity but most of my days I am a normal person from the moment I wake up until I go t bed. I don't need to crack anymore.
As this post is long enough I encourage you to ask me anything if you have doubts about my process. I am very glad to share my experience with all of you I hope you can get healthier too.
@RodrigoNovelo great to hear! Keep us posted on how you go.
Hi, so I’m 21 and I have been feeling the same short of symptoms since I was around 16. I was very active and I noticed when I stopped the sport I was doing this back pain started. I went to the doctor and was told I have back spasms I was give pain killers and muscle relaxers and didn’t help AT ALL. I felt no relief.
After I had my daughter it felt like things got worst. I went back to the doctor and they explained that being pregnant was the cause. They got mri and xrays and still no relief. I went to a new doctor thinking I was finally gonna get some answers and still the same answer muscle spasms and to try yoga and stretching and physical therapy. I tried all but still no relief.
The pain has went from my upper back to the the left side of my ribs and my chest and even to my wrist. I felt so alone because this is the first time I found people that feel the way I do. I feel so alone and I just wish someone could help. I try and explain to my family and it feels like they don’t truly understand. I don’t remember the last time I felt comfortable. Even if I’m not in pain I’m still never comfortable. I’m constantly being told Bu a doctor it’s because I’m too stiff or tense but nothing is helping. It exactly feels like an itch I can’t scratch. It always feel like one more crack and it will stop hurting forever but it’s like that crack never comes. At this point I know how to breathe a certain way to make it crack in a certain place. I’ll put something hard at the point where it’s hurting and then get up breath to make it crack. I’m in constant pain but don’t want to see like I’m always whining so I keep it to myself until it gets so bad I start crying.
Hi everyone, I've had the same pain and tightening in thoracic, right side. I use foam roller to crack my back several times a day. It's been chronic since 35 yrs old, now 41. I've been too 3 orthopedic surgeons, 3 chiropractors, 4 massage therapists. My uncle is a recent retired Orthopedic Surgeon from Cleveland Clinic and started OMNI Orthopedics, so I begged him to review my MRI since nobody can figure it out. He said surprisingly, that I what looks to be DISH Disease. It is often overlooked in imaging, or doctors don't know about it. Go check it out and research it. I at least know what it is now, finally. Ask around and find a Dr. Who knows what it is and and if they are able to find out on imaging.
Well here goes one more!
I am 29, having troubles with my back since about 6 years, but it got worse now. Back in the days I was turning sideways to get a few cracks ... now its constant cracking... like every few seconds. With that the constant pain came, which is just there all the time, i learned to ignore it. I hope the reason is dehydration, as i don't drink much water, but I didn't see many of you mention that, so thats probably not the case.
Similarly I work a lot behind a computer, and probably have forward head posture and pelvic tilt. but no diagnose so far because the doctors just tell me to exercise more....
Chriswilde mentioned and report back.
RodrigoNovelo Post was the most promising one so far, glad it helped. I am thinking about trying "not to crack" myself. Gonna try it without any help of meds first and will see how it goes.
Cheers to everyone, I am glad we have found each other in these cracking times.