by SEXYMYE, Sep 10, 2009
I have scoliosis along with pinch nerves and spasms.  Of course I am in pain 24/7 with no relief from deep tissue massages, cold packs, exercise and medications.  Lately I keep hearing cracking/popping sound coming from my upper back and neck.  The cracking sound is the same as if I was being adjusted by a Chiropractor.  It feels good for a seconds but it is extremely embarrassing when I am in public because the sound is loud enough for people close to me to hear.  I have done so much research on back pain with the hope of understanding this pain I live with but all info found is always about low back pain (like people complete dismiss UPPER back pain).  What could that sound be and when should I consider having a NCS?

This discussion is related to i have strange cracking and popping sounds in my upper spinal area when i inhale .
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Member Comments (6)
by OtisDaMan, Sep 11, 2009
I too have this; I've mentioned it to doctors but they don't seem to know why it happens. I have had thoracic (T5 in the upper back) pain for nearly 12 years now, and neck stiffness, discomfort and pain that is secondary. While on conventional painkillers I muddled along with muscle stiffness and using physiotherapy to loosen things up. After several years of this I got a physiotherapist who could do a decent massage and decent manipulation of the thoracic vertebrae (which isn't as easy as the lower back). The "crack" sound from the manipulation was something I could also do by arching backwards over a chair's back - but only when the back muscles were loose. As you say, it feels good for a few seconds. More recently I've been using an anticonvulsant medication for pain, and at a high enough dose it allows me to crack the back joints and even trigger points on either side of the neck. Presumably it relaxes the supporting muscles enough that they don't resist the movements that give that "crack" sound and good feeling.

For a few months I did Pilates, and I've also done my share of Tai Chi; after going for a long walk (at least 40 minutes, long enough for muscles in the upper back to relax a bit from fatigue) I would lie on the floor and do some of the Pilates exercises. One stretch in particular would cause an audible "crack" from my upper back - lying on my back I would inhale deeply and near the end of the inhale, extend my heels and my palms as far away from my body as possible, and then slowly exhale. Two or three of these would usually yield a pop or loud crack from at least one of them.

I really doubt that the cracking sound is a symptom of anything serious.
Hope this is helpful,

by Tuckamore, Sep 11, 2009
Hi and Welcome to the Pain Mangement Forum.

I too have cracking, popping and snapping but mine is mostly in my sacroiliac area. I have asked several physicians about this including my PMP who is a D.O (a specialist in the structure of the body). I am assured that some ppl just have these motions and sounds rather they are healthy or not. I have been told it is nothing to be concerned about but have never gotten an explanation. I just live with it.

I will ask on my appt next week and see if I can obtain a definitive answer. I'll report back if I do. Good luck to you.

Tale Care,
by SEXYMYE, Sep 11, 2009
Thank you for the response.  I'm sorry you guys are in pain but somewhat releive that I'm not crazy and there's actually people understand what I go through.  I will try the Pilates and see if I can get some releif....
thanks again :)
by OtisDaMan, Sep 12, 2009
Just found a site which gives (some) information about thoracic pain and causes.
Details are:


by sammm711, Sep 28, 2010
Hi. I have the exact same problem as you except I do not have the constant pains. I do have the spasms and they are really irritating. Initially I realised my curved spine when I first visited my chiropractor. My curve is also in the cervical area so judging from the same symptoms that you have, it should be the cause of the spasms.

The chiropractor's adjustments initially helped but after a while it didn't. That's when I started seeing another Chinese doctor. He made the symptoms better but didn't cure it and after a while the spasms got worse again. Throughout this period, despite all the adjustments, my spine has never been straightened.

Currently I'm using the teeter hang ups to try and see whether it would help the straightening of the spine and the spasms. After a couple weeks of use, my Chinese doctor noted that my spine is straighter now! The spasms are also less (but not cured completely) and I hope that in the coming weeks things will improve further. Also, I noticed that the use of computers and carrying of heavy weights worsens the spasms so as far as possible i try to keep away from them. The teeter hang ups is a little expensive but I think it would be much cheaper than the massages and all the other stuff combined. Before I bought the machine, I did some research on it on and other websites and there are just so many positive reviews on the machine. I would highly recommend that you check this thing out. You'll need to try the machine out for quite some time before you see the effects so you have to be patient. The thing I like best about this machine is that I can use it everyday as compared to like 3 times a week with my chiropractor (a lot of money down the drain), which in the end doesn't work out that well. Here's the link on

There are other models but this is the one I'm currently using and so far I've been pretty satisfied with it. Hope this works for you. Cheers.
by jackie_d, May 26, 2011
I agree with sammm711, I've been using teeter hang ups ever since I was involved in a roll-over accident and my back sings my praises for it. It has really helped me out.