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Unique Method for Popping Your Back

Updated on April 27, 2016

Really Bad Pictures of Me Popping My Back

How To Pop Your Own Back

Sometimes it feels good to crack your middle and upper back bones, even if the relief is only temporary. Growing up I popped just about every bone in my body -even my upper rib cage (thoracic bone, if there is such a thing?) would give forth a loud crack at times. I remember my parents admonishing me constantly. When seeing me crack my knuckles they were always quick to say, "If you don't stop, your knuckles will grow big and ugly." Untrue. This is just a myth.

I simply loved popping my joints. I can remember popping other people's fingers and making joints move painlessly that they never knew could pop (i.e. the lower thumb joint). Ironically, I grew up to be an instructional designer, while my brother who rarely popped his own joints became a chiropractor. Of course, I usually ask for a free adjustment when I see him!

My brother was surprised one day several years ago to see the method I used for popping my back. We were both home visiting our mother at the time. I showed him how I could "adjust" my own back using the bathtub. After many years of popping my own back in all sorts of ways, I've become hyperflexible and it's difficult to crack my back via the usual methods. Following is how I take care of it myself:

  1. Wait until mid-day or later so that your joints are relatively loose. For some reason this trick doesn't work for me early in the morning. This is very important!
  2. Ensure your bathtub is dry if you are entering fully clothed.
  3. Enter your tub and sit down on your rear with your knees bent in front of you. You should be facing the wall. Your knees should be up and your shins crossed over one another or both facing the wall (whatever is most comfortable). Your back should be against the side of the tub that is opposite from the wall.
  4. Now, sit up straight and position yourself so that you feel the edge of the tub is between a vertebrae in your middle back. Place your hands on the wall or opposite side of the tub (depending on your height) and press against the wall slowly and firmly, thus producing pressure on your back. Your back may pop the first time you press against the wall. If it doesn't, don't give up. Keep sliding lower and lower in the tub and pressing the wall to try to pop each vertebrae. It's important to start in the middle of your back and slide downward working toward the upper portion of your back.
  5. Continue sliding lower and lower in the tub popping your back from middle to upper. When you have worked your way to the uppermost vertebrae under your neck, you should be rewarded with a nice loud crack. It's great. Sometimes, I can even use my hands to press on my chin while the back of my head is laying on the side of the tub. If it get it just right a really high up bone at the very top of my spine pops. Aghhhh!

The reason I thought to try this method, was because in school and in college I used to do bascially the same thing while sitting in a desk. Once I graduated, there were no more desks around to use for this purpose. To the right are some really horrible pictures of myself illustrating this method. I really need to scrub my tub!

If this method did NOT work for you, dont' give up. Just try it later in the day or on a different day.I've done it for years. Every now and then it doesn't work if I'm wound up way too tight.

Update: I recently suffered from compressed spine and needed a new way to help get relief so I found it today. Yay! You can see it in my other HUB. It shows how I decompressed my own cervical spine area.

Did This Method Work for You?

Try out this method and let me know how it worked.

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    • profile image

      Amber 3 years ago

      Thank you soooo much for posting this! I have been in pain for days and this worked right away, finally RELIEF :) I really appreciate you sharing this, I will no doubt use this over and over again.

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      Mark 3 years ago

      You can also do it standing between a door frame, back against one side and push against the other.

    • matt_elmore profile image

      matt_elmore 4 years ago from San Diego

      This is brilliant. I'm going to try this out next time I come across a bathtub.

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      Deb 4 years ago

      I've found a good way that doesn't hurt and will relieve a lot of pain and pressure and will pop it all out. The idea is to get a stretch in the back without straining. You absolutely should not push this hard. The movements should be gentle; no jerking. Lay on one side next to the edge of your bed. Support yourself so you don't fall off. Now, the leg that is on top, drop it down so it hangs past the bed. Now slowly and gently with the leg that has dropped, bring it forward and up, while curling, bending, curving your back and bringing your chin toward your chest. Press gently on the parts of your back where the pain is while doing this and you might find that you can just readjust things by pressing a little. Now switch to the other side of the bed and repeat. I find that one side pops way more than the other. Sometimes I can get a similar result from tucking one knee to my chest and giving a slight twist, but very, very carefully so as not to over strain.

    • profile image

      gympopper 5 years ago

      I do this at the gym on the leg press machine. The weight on my legs in conjunction with pressing against the chair of the machine always cracks my back. I sometimes dream of going to the gym just for that! Perhaps I will finally get into tip top shape!

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      jess 5 years ago

      i sort of do the same thing.

      i sit on the floor outside of the tub and lean back over the edge of the tub and support my head as if i am going to sit up into an abdominal crunch- doing so puts pressure between the vertebrae and makes the pop occur.i am going to try your other suggestion- i have the worst upper back/shoulder pain right now. any motion where i lift my head to look up sends sharp pain all through my neck and down my spine.

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      josh 5 years ago

      Arghhhhhhhhhh now I have a burning itch to crack my back but I was too tall to do it in the bathtub. :( Thanks for sharing though.

    • profile image

      Bobbi C. 5 years ago

      I have been able to pop my neck and relieve my neck pain by laying on my back on the back seat of my 4-door mid-size car. I leave the car door open. Very slowly I inch my way toward the open door, gently laying my neck back over the edge of the seat. I have actually felt the vertebrae going back into place using this method. For the thoracic spine (between the shoulders) I have been able to relieve muscle spasms and pop this area of my back by laying backwards on a child's bouncing ball. I locate the ball at the lower end of my ribs and gradually roll the ball up to my neck as I am draped over the ball. This has been very effective for me as well.

    • profile image

      Diane 5 years ago

      You can also do something like this on an upper bunk or from under a table. I am going to try the tub, though! I have arthritis everywhere but my neck and fingers and toes. Yes, the places I regularly pop. I'd love to learn how to pop my knees, elbows, and shoulders where I have so much trouble!

    • profile image

      tulsa7035 5 years ago

      Just as the author of this article has, I have popped my joints since the age of 5 from neck to toes including fingers, wrists, elbows, neck, shoulders, back, hip joints, knees, ankles, and toes. A chiropractor friend says this is merely moving the fluid from one side of the joint to the other. He says if everyone did as I do, it would put chiropractors out of business. Now at 67 I have inherited extreme arthritis from my grandfather, but because of keeping my joints limber by popping, there is only some pain in my lower back, and I am extremely agile. And, it's never to late to start relieving your own pain and becoming more limber! I'm living proof popping joints works. It feels like I'm a walking miracle. ~ Janice

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      Alex 5 years ago

      I'm 17, currently in high school, however I am on spring break! No desks! But getting up at 3 am to sit in the tub just made me be able to relax! Thank you!!!

    • profile image

      Ron 5 years ago

      Great Hub! I honestly was looking at a school dest at a garage sale last year, lol I sat right down and cracked my back. As we pulled away I saw girl sit down and do the same thing. This really does work, I almost bought that chair just for that reason. Now I can just jump in the tub whenever I need my middle and upper back cracked.

      I suffered with lower back pain for years. 10+ years to be more specific, you can check out my story at WWW.PopYourBack.com. It is more for lower back pain and includes how I pop my lower back.

      I thought you and your readers might be interested.

      Great Hub and Again Thank You !

      Ron

    • profile image

      ALPHAMALE 5 years ago

      Before you scrub that tub you need to go make me a sandwich...

    • profile image

      bill 5 years ago

      I thought this was nonsense but as a lifelong cracker I needed to crack my back without the twist lying down. Since I'm on the short side I fit pretty good in the tub. I got two in the mid back and two between the shoulder blades. Thank you so much for sharing, the relief is wonderful.

    • profile image

      Lacey 5 years ago

      wow ive never had this much relief thank u so much!!

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      Everything cracker 5 years ago

      For all those that can't manage to get the upper or lower back, try leaning back on the tub (like floating on your back, except the side of the tub supports you). Slide a little to get the sweet spots. It is better if you can press on something though. Those desks were great; I remember breaking a few of them. Another great trick is the top row of the bleachers at the local racetrack: I lay back on the metal bar, then "bench-press" the bar above me to force the crack. Works like a charm... and keeps me going to the races. A note of caution: avoid twisting while popping.

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      Dani 5 years ago

      I seriously thought I was the only one who did this with my desks in high school! I've missed them so much. In college, the desk seats are all made so the backs aren't firm, but flexible - so it's impossible to pop my back in them. I have a claw foot tub tho, so I bet this will work great, since these bathtubs are so large!

    • profile image

      John 5 years ago

      Thanks for wasting my time. Seriously.

    • profile image

      jordan 5 years ago

      I wish it worked for me but my bones are sensitive? My lower back hurt in the tub and my arms couldn't reach the wall..but thankyou for the tip, maybe ill use my yoga mat to line the tub and shall see if it works..great idea though

    • profile image

      hurting back 5 years ago

      its my husbands back I have tried all there is to try, He just looks at me and says ok it did not work. He is a heavy set man I am always on his back with many lotions then he looks up and says just get off not working, Where can I make it work, I only weigh 112. He hurts all the time, Help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      otownoz 5 years ago

      Stunning Grandeur! This may be the greatest discovery since evolution!

    • profile image

      So relieved 5 years ago

      OMG I love you. I feel like I should pay you. I have been looking high and low for the perfect place to accomplish this myself because I haven't been able to find someone with enough leverage to do it. Only problem now...I need a deeper tub or shorter legs. Thank you so much.

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      Grace 6 years ago

      I tried this tonight & it adjusted my mid back. I wasn't able to get movement in upper back. Not sure if that is because I'm 5'2" or if there's too much muscle tension. Thanks for the tip!

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      Missy 6 years ago

      OMG! Thank you so much! Just like you, I used my desks at school/college to pop my back, and since then, I haven't found a method to successfully release the tension in my upper back! I can't wait to go home and try this!

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      Luke 6 years ago

      I thought I was the only one who thought of this. But yes this method is amazing.

    • profile image

      Julie 6 years ago

      Tension and stress had me kinked up for weeks.

      This totally worked for me.

      My back feels great today Thank you!

    • profile image

      Julie 6 years ago

      Wow. It does help alot. Genious idea. Thank you soooo much.

    • profile image

      Erin 6 years ago

      I never comment on pages like this, but i just wanted you to know that this helped me SO much. my back has been bothering me a lot lately and i've been trying to figure out how to crack my upper back and this worked perfectly! thank you so much!

    • profile image

      Jessica 6 years ago

      I didn't believe it would work. I tried it and it felt SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDDDD!!!! This sh** works!!!!!

    • profile image

      Tom 6 years ago

      Hey. I gave it a go and I can see how the curvature of the tub is just right and how handy it is to be able to push against the wall but unfortunately I can't cross my legs high enough to reach the part of my shoulder that i need to crack. I'm 6'3 and it's a spot about halfway up my shoulder blades that i need to crack. So frustrating! Thanks for the tip though :) I'll have to get a bigger tub.

    • profile image

      Jillian 6 years ago

      I've been looking EVERYWHERE for techniques that worked, and your site came up. My back has NEVER felt this good. Thank you so much!!

    • profile image

      Lolita 6 years ago

      I just typed in how to adjust your own midback and this site turned up. I tried it first time 10.30 P.M. and I cracked two main mid back that when out is so bad, it often interrupts my breathing (vertebrae often pinch nerves) From falls and car accidents, I've had to suffer when I can't afford constant chiropractors and my son isn't here to step on my mid back. WOW! God Bless you, for the relief you've given that will help soooo much

    • profile image

      your best friend 6 years ago

      i had my doubts cause i tought it was foolish, but you are a superhero. ty very much

    • profile image

      JoAnna 6 years ago

      It worked!

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      Mackenzie 6 years ago

      This is the ONLY technique I've tried that has even somewhat worked. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • profile image

      Craig 6 years ago

      Oh My Gosh! That actually worked! I've had a pain my upper back & right shoulder for weeks. I'm a big guy 6ft/220 - and, I have a smaller tub - so it was probably comical to see. But, it totally worked!!!!! Thank you!

    • Et al... profile image
      Author

      Et al... 6 years ago

      Hi Everyone. Thanks for leaving comments. It's so neat to know this little trick I shared has brought you guys some relief.

      I just figured out a new method for tractioning out my own upper neck and I included the link in the hub above at the bottom in an update.

    • profile image

      Andy 6 years ago

      Thank you!!! This is amazing. Those stiff backed school chairs do the trick when I'm there, but not at home where I don't have access to them. I just hope in the tub once a day push on myself for 2 minutes and I'm golden! Thanks!

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      mr.moe 6 years ago

      Man, i uses to do that to. i graduated high school ten years ago and i have been missing those desks ever since. Why didn't i think of using the bathtub... thanks for the idea.

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      Chicago Nick 6 years ago

      Boy I have crippling MS and fall once in a while and fell a couple weeks ago and couldn't turn my neck for jack, been looking online, can't stand spending money at Dr's as I've found all MS treatments to be expensive and frankly a scam..

      This worked like a charm although I almost thought I'd break my neck as it was about 3/4 the way up and it hurt just to touch the back of my office chair.

      thank you. Excellent advice.

    • profile image

      Jay 6 years ago

      Awesome. I am a 185 pound guy with a back that is hard to crack and my petite wife doesn't have the weight to do crack my back for me. This worked like a charm. I couldn't quite get my upper back, but this definitely did the trick for my mid-back. Thanks for the tip.

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      Thomas 6 years ago

      Thank You!!! Thank You!!! Thank you!!! I've been suffering for 4 days and there is no telling how many times I passed my tub. Thanks

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      Current high schooler 7 years ago

      I've been on summer vacation, and really the only reason I miss school is because the desks are so useful for back relief. I tried this method and although it didn't work, I think it will be better tomorrow with a "fresh" set of vertebrae. Thank you, fellow joint-popper!

    • Et al... profile image
      Author

      Et al... 7 years ago

      Thanks everyone for commenting! It makes me feel good to know I'm helping bring a few people relief out there. (Smile)

    • profile image

      Jeanne 7 years ago

      Tried it, didn't work. My method is to stand straight and then bend over, letting my arms/hands hang down brushing the floor. Then I bounce my upper body up and down towards the floor. Incredibly cracks!

    • profile image

      jp 7 years ago

      This is great! I had the exact same problem of not knowing what to do about my tight upper back after I graduated college and didn't have those lovely desk/chair combos to play with! Sometimes I can find someone who can do the bear hug and lift method but most people can't do it right. This tub method works better than anything else I have tried.

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      Ross P 7 years ago

      I did this bathtub thing and it actually worked. Like she said not in the morning. In the early afternoon after doing chores in the morning. I couldn't get my legs like she did but I manage to get in there enough to have three good cracks and it was instant relief. I already do my lower back and neck, now the mid back. Yeha I a happy camper.

      cheers

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      backhurts 7 years ago

      i don't have a bathtub :(

    • profile image

      Dave 7 years ago

      This worked very well for a jam up between my shoulders that I have had for 3 weeks! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      Mark 7 years ago

      Thanks for the tip, never would of thought of this myself. Went to two different chiropractors to try to get out kink in back to no avail, tried door jam, got it myself using this technique.

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      brett 7 years ago

      worked like a charm, thankyou. i needed this so bad!

    • profile image

      BB 7 years ago

      Unfortunately my tub is too wide to do this properly. Those desks during high school were my saviors, and now every time I get a kink that won't go away in my back I have no way of getting it out, like right now. However, being able to simply lean back on the edge of the tub popped it in a few other places. Right now I've got a spot that's right between the vertebrae and right shoulder blade that hurts so bad but I know would be an easy fix if I just had someone to push on it :(

      This is a nice tip though. Maybe I can find a friend with a smaller tub lol

    • profile image

      R. Cappell 7 years ago

      Thank you so much for the effort you put in. Exactly what I was looking for! Pictures too. Thank you again.

    • Et al... profile image
      Author

      Et al... 7 years ago

      Em and Erik, So glad it worked for you. I know what sweet relief it can sometimes bring to me.

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      Erik 7 years ago

      ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my gods. Sweetheart, thank you a million billion jillion. I am nearly in tears of relief. You're magnificent.

    • profile image

      Em 7 years ago

      Omg genius! I always used desks too and just didn't put it together to use a tub. Perfect! Thanks for the idea!

    • Et al... profile image
      Author

      Et al... 7 years ago

      Fellow back cracker: Did it work? I hope so.

    • profile image

      Fellow back cracker 7 years ago

      Funny because the whole time i was reading this article I was thinking how I use to do this in middle school with those one piece desks, now i can do it on certain objects like tables and chairs. I have never cracked it high up by the neck and heard a loud crack I'll go try it.

    • Et al... profile image
      Author

      Et al... 8 years ago

      Thank you very much. My profile pic is from a photo I took of a tree in our backyard. My mother, who has dementia, created the face in her ceramics class. It's very special to me.

    • Pamela Laird profile image

      Pamela Laird 8 years ago

      Great profile pic--love it!!! And very interesting hubs.