Can I Perform A Self Chiropractic Adjustment On My Lower Back?

Nov 19, 2020

When lower back pain hits it can be hard to maintain everyday activities, keep up at work, or rest comfortably at night. A health and wellness appointment to your family chiropractor can provide pain and tension relief. Find the benefits of alternatives to trying a self chiropractic adjustment for the lower back while you are in between appointments. When pain levels increase, or when tension begins to impact lower back comfort, trying to do a self chiropractic lower back adjustment at home can make a difference in your health in a negative way. . It can be dangerous and cause increased pain and risk of injury. 

How the Spine Works

The spine is comprised of 33 small, circular bones stacked on top of one another known as vertebrae. In between each bone, there is a disc of tissue providing cushion, support, and comfort. Being made up of bone, the spine is durable and able to withstand the stress and tension that we associate with everyday tasks and labor. Inside the spine, however, we find the spinal cord. The spinal cord is delicate and vulnerable, which is why it’s protected by the spinal column. The spinal cord is responsible for sending neural pulses from all over the body to the brain and from the brain back to the body. These spinal cord neural transmissions happen millions of times throughout the course of a day. 

When we experience back pain or tension in any area, it can be due to a variety of factors associated with the spine. One wrong stretch or an oddly angled bend to the floor can easily cause a shift in the natural alignment of the spine. While some pain can be due to spinal vertebrae shifts and some can be due to nerve pinches between the spinal disks, all back pain and tension puts a strain on our lives.   

Is It Safe to Do an At Home Adjustment?

There will be times when lower back pain and tension pop up at a bad time. Maybe when you get home from the office and your chiropractor is already closed for the day or right before you’re heading to an important meeting. When lower back pain happens, should you resort to a self chiropractic adjustment? Most of us have probably already tried out what we think is a self adjustment without realizing it. When you twist in your chair or turn your neck in search of that satisfying ‘pop’, you’re already aiming for joint tension relief. 

However, most self adjustment in the form of ‘popping’ your joints isn’t actually an adjustment. An adjustment can only be performed by a trained and licensed chiropractor. It can be dangerous when attempting on your own  at home.  When you crack your back you are especially relieving tension within the joints by releasing stored gasses and creating the tell-tale ‘pop’. The lower back pain you were experiencing was most likely associated with the tension or lowered mobility in a joint. Releasing the gasses and removing some tension can allow the joint to move more freely, resulting in temporary relief from pain or discomfort. 

Risk to Self Adjustment

The method used and the frequency you try to self adjust to relieve pain are where some risk can arise in self chiropractic adjustment. Many try to relieve tension with jerky popping movements or by asking a friend to crack their back. Both of these options can be associated with increased back pain and potential damage. 

Some of the common problems that can happen with unsafe self chiropractic adjustments include overstretching of the ligaments, pinched nerves, muscle injury, limited mobility, or even further misalignment. Most of the time when someone tries to alleviate their pain with a self adjustment, the segment they actually moved is the incorrect segment that needed to move. This can actually cause the correct segment to move to further move into a worse position. 

When Should I See a Professional?

If you’re itching for lower back pain or tension relief, your joint issues are most likely associated with a deeper injury or strain in the spine. While self chiropractic adjustments might be able to relieve some pain or tension temporarily to an area, the root underlying issues causing discomfort will likely need professional treatment. 

To determine if your pain or tension is associated with an underlying issue, take notice of the details surrounding your discomfort. If the pain or tension happens frequently in the same area, if the pain persists or gets worse, or if the relief felt from you performing a self adjustment or “popping your back” fades quickly, , reach out to your family chiropractor for a full assessment and treatment.  

Alternatives To Doing a Self Chiropractic Adjustment

There are a few alternative ways of doing a self chiropractic adjustment for your lower back safely and effectively at home. Before you try any unofficial adjustments, weigh the benefits with your family chiropractor first, and while you wait for your next visit, try some of these stretches at home to alleviate your low back pain. 

Yoga Pose Stretch 

For the Child’s pose stretch, come to the floor onto your hands and knees, keeping a flat back. Slowly shift your weight backwards until you’re sitting back on your folded legs. Bend your upper body forwards, stretching your arms out along the floor

For the Cobra pose stretch, lay on the floor on your stomach. Bend both elbows, placing your hands under your shoulders. Gently lift your torso off the floor, bending your back without bringing your pelvis off the floor

Hamstring Stretch 

Lay flat on the ground with your back straight. Bend your left knee, keeping your right leg straight. Then, grab behind your right knee, pulling it towards your body in a stretch. Stretch as far as you can without straining your muscles and without lifting your tailbone off the floor. Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds, then switch to stretch your opposite leg. This technique can relieve back pain by increasing mobility in the hamstrings and pelvis. 

Double Knee Pull Stretch

Lay flat on the floor, bending both knees. Place a hand behind each knee and pull your knees towards your chest. This stretch will relieve tension in the lower back muscles by increasing the mobility and reducing stiffness. 

Go For a Walk!

Another great option in between visits, or immediately after being adjusted is to go for a walk! Going for a walk after an adjustment can allow the mechanical correction to “settle in.” It helps improve your balance, and decreases the inflammation away from the nerve. Besides the spinal benefits, it also is a great way to get light exercise and improve your mood!

Our Chiropractic Doctor

Dr. Amanda Hurley

Dr. Amanda Hurley

M.D. Chiropractor

Dr. Amanda is thrilled to be serving the Fargo-Moorhead community as she was raised in Fargo, ND. Dr. Amanda had always planned on attending North Dakota State University for Nursing, but while she was in school realized her interests aligned more with a holistic approach to medicine. She changed her major to pre-chiropractic and began diving into chiropractic care full force.

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