Back cracking or popping during sit ups

Patient

Q: My lower back 'cracks' or 'pops' during sit ups and I have only noticed when doing full sit ups not when doing crunches. Last time I did sit ups was over a year ago and it was not happening then. How can I stop this or should I go to the doctors because it doesn't hurt but I'm conscious of it because people can hear it and think its weird.

Symptoms:  Back cracking popping. No pain at all though. Just feels weird
Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. Cracking of the joints is a common phenomenon and is often fairly benign and is not something to be concerned with. The cause of this is not fully identified but the medical community has some theories as to why this happens. One theory is that when articulating joints are moving, the repositioning of the bones results in a cracking or 'popping' sound. A second theory is that this sound may be caused by the movements of ligaments or tendons moving as the joint articulates. Lastly, this sound is believed to be caused by the rapid movement of synovial fluid (the the fluid that protects and lubricates joints), in and out of the joint as it moves. Whatever may be the cause, this should not be something to worry about. If you begin to feel pain when you hear your back cracking, then we would like you to have this checked by your doctor as this could be an early sign of a pathological issue with your back.

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