Is it OK to pop your own spine?

Lots of people will come in and tell me they pop their own spines.  Often I am told “there is one spot I can no longer pop myself.”  Or “can you check my hips I couldn’t get it to pop and now they are starting to to hurt”.  So is it OK to pop your own spine?  Short answer is no.  Usually you are taking a bad spot and making it worse.  Let’s look at when it is wrong to pop your spine and when it is alright to do it.


When you injure or have stress at two or more spinal bones, a chain reaction happens to protect you.  First thing that happens is the muscles around the bones will become locked up.  If you can not move then you can not add more damage.  The second thing is inflammation.  The inflammation is the way the body drives blood to area to transport things need to heal. The last thing is you become hypersensitive to the area.  The goal here is to hurt faster to tell you to stop adding stress.

Long Term

If the joint is fixated this creates a different long term problem.  There is no blood supply to your disc.  When you move your muscles the squeeze in nutrition and flush out toxins in the disc joint.  If the muscles are locked up to protect you this process stops.  The end result is the disc will become dehydrated and unable to push out toxins.  After time you will loose disc height.  At the disc height decrease the joint becomes more easily inflamed.  Lastly over many years the arthritis process will start.

Chiropractic Adjustment

The chiropractor’s job is to give an adjustment and restore the motion.  Chiropractors use x-ray and exams to determine which bones to adjust and which direction to adjust.  Once motion is restored healing begins.  There is often a popping noise and a slight release of neuro-chemicals from the joint.  These neuro-chemicals cause the body to relax and usually feel good.

But it feels good

It is when you pop yourself you will also feel these neuro-chemicals. This is where people make the mistake.  I hear “but it feels good.”  People mistake if it feels good it must be good for you.  Think of an ice cream sundae. It feels good to eat but we know it is not.  Understand that as one joint is fixated the joints above and below move extra.  It is these above and below joints you are popping.  When you force the the joints above and below to move more you are forcing the fixation to worsen.

When it is ok

If you are stretching or exercising and hear a pop it is ok.  During the day we might reach or stretch and hear a pop.  If it happens without being forced you are not causing damage.  So don’t trust everything you see on TikTok.