AT NIGHT, I OF­TEN CRACK MY BACK TO RE­LIEVE STIFF­NESS AND TEN­SION. IS THIS BAD FOR ME?

Women's Health Australia - - ASK WOMEN’S HEALTH -

Now and then it’s not harm­ful, but it can be­come an is­sue if you rely on it as a daily fix, says or­thopaedic sur­geon Dr Ar­min Tehrany. Let’s break it down.

Our joints are made up of ten­dons and lig­a­ments, and we have car­ti­lage in be­tween that helps every­thing move smoothly. When you ap­ply pres­sure to your joints by twist­ing or crack­ing your back, it re­leases gas (that’s the pop­ping sound you hear). “Crack­ing daily can cause car­ti­lage to wear out, lead­ing to pain or pos­si­bly ten­don and lig­a­ment tears,” says Tehrany.

Gen­tle stretch­ing and ex­er­cis­ing are both safer ways to re­lieve ten­sion. A warm shower can also help: once you dry off, slowly bend for­ward at the waist and hang to­wards the ground for 15 to 30 sec­onds. If the ten­sion is cen­tred in your up­per back, foam-roll for five min­utes a few times a week. Lie on your back with feet flat, knees bent at 90 de­grees and the roller placed un­der­neath your shoul­ders, per­pen­dic­u­lar to the body. Lift your bum and wrap your arms like you’re giv­ing your­self a tight hug. Use your feet to slowly roll up and down. Crack­ing.

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