If it’s Ok for your chiropractor to do it, then why can’t you do it yourself?
Like with most good questions, the answer is a little involved. Taking a step back, let’s summarise what happens when you hear a crack in your back:
When you crack your joints, you are increasing the joint space between the bones by stretching or twisting. This increase in joint space causes a decrease in pressure within the joint, and brings the dissolved gasses out of solution with a 'pop'
Now, here is the important part – In a healthy spine, all the segments or joints contribute to the overall movement of your trunk. When you have an injury in your spine, one joint may lock up and function improperly. Your body will then compensate for this problem by allowing more movement to the adjacent joint – usually the one above it.
Now, when you twist your spine to get some cracks, the one that is more than likely to crack and move is not the injured restricted one, but the one on top that is over-compensating.
You may get on overall increase in flexibility and perhaps endorphin rushes form this, however, you are only stressing a joint that is already stressed, and not really helping the situation.
As a chiropractor, we go to great lengths to identify the restricted joint that is at the root of the problem and then we specifically manipulate or adjust this joint to allow all your joints to move properly.
If you constantly feel the need to crack your own back, the chances are that something is not 100%. Don’t try to service it yourself. See someone who knows what they are doing!