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*Crack!* "Oh, My Back!"

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"Honey! Get my chiropractor on the phone!"
Q: [calmly] I think I just hurt my back... I'm feeling pain... I don't like it... what's the right thing to say? Ow?
Geordi and Data: [both nod and speak in unison] Ow.
Q: OWWW! I can't straighten up!

Aging is one of those things that happens to us all (at least in universes where the aging process hasn't been defeated in some way).

As people (and other creatures) get older, their joints begin to crack and pop, despite their best efforts. Sometimes this is painful; sometimes it also prevents the crack-ee from being able to move. Arthritis and Rheumatism set in. You get the picture. It can even start as early as middle age when a person still looks young and hale, but finds they're not as young as they used to be when they try to act as young as they feel. It's often an old person just trying to stand up or do something ordinary, emphasizing the creaky, fragile state of an elderly body.

Oddly enough, in fictional media, this situation is frequently Played for Laughs, making this a very specific type of amusing injury.

The most commonly shouted phrase after the crack is "Oh, my back!" but the trope itself isn't confined solely to spinal-lumbar complaints and can happen with any body part, bone or joint. Occasionally, this will even happen with younger characters if they move in very awkward positions.

Variations include:

  • Someone becoming injured in some way resulting in the body part cracking.
  • Common to superheroes and action movie heroes.

May be a sign that said character is Feeling Their Age and/or Dented Iron. Compare and contrast with Knuckle Cracking, in which a character cracks their knuckles audibly to intimidate or scare.


    open/close all folders 

  • A BirdsEye advert features some dancing, cooked chickens. The ordinary-looking chicken tries to dance with the other chickens, but breaks his back.
  • A radio commercial for Rent-A-Center has Hulk Hogan groan, "Oh, my back" after trying to move furniture by himself.
  • A Christmas 2018 commercial had Macaulay Culkin re-enacting scenes from Home Alone he had done when he was a child, when re-enacting the jumping on the bed scene he exclaims "Ow, my back!"

    Anime & Manga 
  • Comes up in Den-noh Coil with Mega-Baa several times.
  • In Naruto the aged Tsuchikage, Onoki, has very similar problems with his hips. When he insists on carry his bag anyway, his very large bodyguard opts to carry both him and the pack at the same time. Rather comically, when actually fighting, his ninjutsu can let him fly as well as decrease the weight of objects so much that he can even lift an entire Turtle Island, albeit not completely without issue.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Happened to Yugi's grandpa Sugoroku during the KC Grand Prix arc.
  • Orin's grandpa in Akazukin Chacha.
  • Pokémon: The Series
    • Professor Oak in the Pokémon 2000 movie, as an audio Funny Background Event.
    • A martial arts shifu has this happen as he accepts a challenge from a rival school. The same thing happens to his Machoke seconds later!
  • Jin from Samurai Champloo hurts his back trying to back up after a night at a brothel. Bear in mind, he spent said night with every woman there that Mugen didn't want (he foisted them off on Jin to get the one he wanted).
  • Kamichu! - Matsuri's dad is laid low when he moves too much furniture.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: Taiwan tried to fix China's back. She ended up breaking his arm. It Makes Sense in Context. It's not the first time it happens, either. In a much earlier trip China tried to make some exercise, but once he attempted to touch his own toes with his fingers... OUCH.
  • Happened to Musashi Miyamoto several times in Yaiba.
  • In both manga and anime versions of Gate, creepy PSIA agent Komakado suffers a back injury trying to lift Rori Mercury's giant ax after someone tries to steal it (and promptly ends up crushed under it). It's not that he's old, though, he's barely middle age, it's that the halberd is extremely heavy, Rory being a Physical God.
  • Neptune of One Piece definitely counts. He may not look all that old but the first fight he's shown in, this trope ignites with him and it isn't revealed until after the fight is finished.
  • A rare young example happens in Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!. Hana and Shinichi go to a batting center, and at one point Hana tries to swing a bat without properly stretching. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs when she, being a short woman with huge boobs, gets a crack on her lower back, forcing her to lie down until the pain is gone.
  • In Oh, Suddenly Egyptian God, Ra attempts to do a swing jump, and manages a great leap before his back gave in, causing him to flop to the ground weakly and in pain.
  • Kaoru in Major 2nd tries to help her son Daigo practice as a catcher by acting as his pitcher. Despite having been a skilled baseball/softball player in her youth, her years of inactivity cause her to crack her shoulder when she tries to throw a ball, and the doctor later tells her she shouldn't attempt that again.
  • I Want Your Mother To Be With Me!: Yuzuki's dad suffers sudden back pain in Chapter 20, and has to close the restaurant for a few days.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Seigen has hurt himself several times from trying to move too fast, attributed to both a hernia and a bad back. The one time he tries to step out of retirement to face someone attacking his home, Seigen simply standing up sends himself back on his knees.
  • Zoids: New Century: Played for laughs. This is basically what happens to Bit after getting caught by an irate Leena in a Bear Hug (long story short, he mistakenly gave Harry Champ a secret parts order, resulting in an unwanted date for the latter.)
    Brad: [not turning to look] That didn't sound too healthy.
    Dr. Toros: [also not turning] Oooo, too bad we can't afford a chiropractor any more.
    Jamie: [not bothering to look] You alright, Bit?
    Bit: [groans]
  • Henkyou no Roukishi Bard Loen: As an old man, Bard Loen regularly complains about his back or shoulder pain.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice: Played for Laughs in episode eight. When Yuri Plisetsky enthusiastically greets his grandfather with a flying hug, an audible crack is heard before the old man keels over.
    Yuri: I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I forgot about your bad back!

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 1, Wolffy is one of a bunch of victims of Rapid Aging and is a senior citizen when he reaches the goats in yet another attempt to capture and eat them. He cracks his hip (in a variation of the trope) as he gets angry at the goats, prompting Master Pao Pao and Brother Tai to appear with a stretcher to carry him on when the goats call for them. Brother Tai ends up getting distracted and flexes his muscles at Tibbie, which causes the stretcher to fall partially and only serves to cause more hip pain to Wolffy.

    Comic Books 
  • Gold Digger: This is a main characteristic of Julia, the character's mother. She's a world class martial artist, but has one weakness. Her back keeps giving out. So, she'll kick arse, take names, then at the end. "Ow, my back. Someone help me up." Also helps keep her from over-powering the heroes. Then she gets hit with a youth spell, and her back doesn't give her problems.
  • Cerebus the Aardvark: Cerebus in the last few issues of the comic, to show how old he has gotten.
  • New Mutants: Sunspot throws his back out while trying to lift Volstagg the Voluminous off the floor. Sunspot may be a young man with Super-Strength, but Volstagg is just that heavy. He's left silently smarting with pain, a state which is not helped by Volstagg pulling him into a bear hug to congratulate him on his success.
  • Shang-Chi: "Black" Jack Tarr is a big, tough fighter, except when his back goes out and makes him almost helpless.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side: One strip has an "Old Age" truck running over aging people who never see it coming.
  • Paw Broon is prone to putting his back out in Scottish comic The Broons.
  • One story arc in Baby Blues has Daryl throw out his back while packing the van for a trip to visit Wanda's parents. He is briefly delighted by his new immobility, thinking it will get him out of visiting the in-laws. Wanda has other ideas.
  • In Mafalda, Mafalda's dad hurts his back while picking up a book that fell down and starts worrying if he is starting to get old. He decides to start trying some exercises to keep his body in shape, but while he's bending over, Mafalda accidentaly steps on a toy car and the poor man thinks the crack came from his back.

    Fan Works 
  • This Bites!: During Enies Lobby, the combined stress and anger from the sheer chaos the Supernovas are causing eventually overwhelms Sengoku to the point that he suffers a heart attack. Due to his age, he runs the severe risk of it happening again and thus must keep a tight lid on his temper from now on.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Incredibles, Bob Parr a.k.a. Mr. Incredible realizes that time, inaction and age have gotten the better of him as his back cracks and seizes during his fight with the Omnidroid when he does a victory holler. The Omnidroid then tries to pull him in two but pops the kink back in place instead. Now feeling twenty years younger, the fight goes back in Mr. Incredible's favor.
  • James and the Giant Peach: Centipede is being stretched on a rack by the skeleton pirates, and in the middle of one turn of the wheel, his back cracks and he says, "Hey, that one felt pretty good!"
  • In Up, Carl and Charles Muntz have a battle, and due to the advanced age of both combatants, their shoulders crack and lock up so neither can deal the other an overhead blow.
  • B.O.B. in Monsters vs. Aliens: "Ah, my back! Just kidding! I don't have a back!" Link plays it straighter when he's showing off to Susan. He tries to do a single-handstand but messes up his back in the process.
  • In The Rescuers Down Under, Wilbur injures his back while helping Bernard and Bianca with their luggage. He's sent to an outback hospital of dubious credentials, whose doctor has some unorthodox methods for healing (ex. launching a cane at him, shooting syringes at him from a shotgun, and attempting to saw him in half with a chainsaw). As he tries to escape, the Doctor and nurses try to prevent him from leaving and pull him back inside, and Wilbur's back locks back in place and is off on his way. But in doing so, he accidentally falls on top of the doctor, who then moans, "My back!" *crack*
  • In The Jungle Book (1967), after the second time Kaa lands on the ground, as he slithers away, he groans something like, "Ooooo, my sacroiliac!"
  • In Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Paul Peterson (Penny's dad) tends to have this problem when he's stressed (as pictured above). Fortunately for him, Mr. Peabody is (among many other things) a fully licensed chiropractor.
  • Mulan's father Fa Zhou has arthritis. In this case, however, it's Played for Drama—after being conscripted into the Emperor's new army (he is the only man of the Fa family, and the decree states that every household must send a male member to join), Mulan spies on him while he goes to retrieve his old armor and sword. He practices his battle blows and seems to be doing well...then doubles over in pain as his joints seize. Mulan's eyes widen with horror as she imagines this happening on an actual battlefield.
    • Later, when Mulan steals the armor for herself to masquerade as a man and keep her father home, Fa Zhou desperately tries to chase her, only to have an arthritic attack and stumble, helpless, into the mud outside his family's home. His wife is left to hold him as they panic over their daughter's safety.
  • Hotel Transylvania 2: Murray tries to show Dennis how to be a monster by summoning a sandstorm. He chants and spins around, and then hurts his back, only producing a small whorl that Dennis happily plays with.
  • In Alpha and Omega, the eastern wolf pack leader named Tony has had problems with a slipped disc in his back as he gets older. It even hinders him when he and Winston (the western pack leader) get caught in a caribou stampede.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ronnie lifting Brandi in Observe and Report.
  • In Time Bandits, the ogre on the ship has a bad back that cracks when he tries to lift things. Watch it here, starting at 3:40.
  • Spider-Man 2 has a beautifully executed example. Peter tries jumping from one roof to another and almost makes it, crying joyfully: "I'm back! I'm BACK!" However, he unfortunately does not make the jump, falls, grabs onto a clothesline, smacks a wall, falls again, and then hits not one but two cars. He tries to stand up straight after this and then cries: "My back! My BACK!" All the more winceworthy because Spider-Man actor Tobey Maguire had actually injured his back in Real Life earlier in the year, such that for a while it was up in the air if he'd be able to continue playing the Webslinger.
  • Subverted in Soul Kitchen. The main character getting herniated is a major plot point, but in both occurrences when the audience expects an audible crack all that happens instead is that the main character screams in pain.
  • HOUBA! On the Trail of the Marsupilami: Old botanist Hermoso, when trying to give a demonstration of "Austrian Savate", gets stuck from a back pain. And later, after falling from an elevator platform, he stays stuck for three hours before Pétunia comes help him.
  • Avengers: Endgame. The Avengers are using Scott Lang to test the time travel machine, but have yet to work out the kinks, turning him into a teenager, a baby, and an old man — who gives this trope after being zipped back and forth through time.
  • Rags: When Arthur is describing how to do "The Snake", he demonstrates the move himself. This is followed by a loud "crack", and he, awkwardly hunched over in pain, immediately declares that Andrew and Lloyd take a break for a bit.
  • In The Odd Couple, Felix, despondent over the dissolution of his marriage, visits Oscar and his poker buddies and after some talk, goes into the bathroom. The others become paranoid that he'll attempt suicide if unattended, so they break into the room and unfortunately hit Felix with the door, who then cries loudly about his back hurting.
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home calls back the previous Spider-Man film by having Peter suffer a sore back. Specifically, Peter Parker as played by Tobey Maguire, having been transported into the MCU. Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man helps relieve the pain a bit and admits he sometimes has a similar issue.
  • Ultraman X The Movie: Here Comes! Our Ultraman!: When the Kurosaki Research Center starts collapsing at the end and Tsukasa Tamaki gets pinned down by a set of railings, Carlos Kurosaki, running past, tries to help her by lifting said railing. Being a single person, though, he ends up cracking his back (with a very audible "creak!" thrown in) causing him to stagger a bit.
  • In Doctor at Sea, Corble slips a disc while stoking and finds himself stuck in a bent-over position.
  • A Touch of Class: Steve and Vickie are in Spain for a romantic vacation. Steve hops on top of Vickie in their first night in the Spanish hotel room, and promptly throws his back out, screaming that he's having a "spasm". This leads to a comedy sequence in which Vickie, still stuck under a howling Steve, struggles to get out from under and grab the phone to call for a doctor.

  • Dead Man's Land by Robert Ryan is set during the First World War, with Sherlock Holmes retired and estranged from Dr. Watson after the latter volunteers for an army medical unit. When Watson telegraphs him for help in a murder mystery, Holmes is overjoyed and rushes to his bookshelf, only to collapse when his back gives out. When he next see Holmes however, he's recruiting a young boy to fetch books and give other assistance so he can continue with the case.
  • Cohen the Barbarian in Discworld has this happen to him in his original appearance, until the girl he'd rescued from being sacrificed (which she hadn't been all that happy about) grabs his shoulders, places her knee in the small of his back and yanks.
    Cohen: "The back! Gone!"
    • Apparently it wasn't just a temporary fix, because in all his subsequent appearances Cohen is still in the Barbarian Hero game with no interest in retiring, and never complains of back trouble again.
  • In Aunt Dimity Digs In, Sally Pyne, the owner and operator of the tearoom in Finch, secretly takes up exercise and her joints respond this way. Very much Played for Laughs, especially since her clearly reduced mobility gives away her "secret" to her neighbours. Of course, it doesn't help that her granddaughter Rainey starts to spill the beans.
  • In The Eccentric Family, aged tengu Akadama-sensei suffered a back injury in something referred to as the Demon King Cedar incident and lost his ability to fly, though he'd never admit that to anyone.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the Big Badass Battle Sequence of the Season 3 finale, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce is shown charging into battle with a determined look on his face, only to get knocked down with a single punch and spend the rest of the fight on the ground, whining for help.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Old Age Plan", both Mr. Conklin and Mr. Boynton suffer from this as thinking about old age has given them "stiffness in the joints". Fortunately, the cause was purely psychosomatic and they get better when Miss Brooks shows them via a Zany Scheme how foolish they were acting.
  • This trope tends to be a running gag in Tweenies, whereupon Max tends to suffer his back giving out at least Once per Episode in some of the show's seasons.
  • Happens to Jeff in Rules of Engagement during a softball game.
  • Happened periodically to Howard Cunningham and Felix Unger.
  • The Jeffersons: Mr. Bentley's back would periodically go out, and it was always up to George to walk on it. It was a common enough occurrence for it to appear in some variations of the opening.
  • A reality show example occurs in Dancing with the Stars with Tom DeLay at the end of his last dance.
  • An episode of Seinfeld had Jerry deal with an entire family of guys who tended to pick up a television set too heavy for them. At the end of the episode, Jerry easily picks up the back-killing television TV and moves it.
    "It's go time!"
  • Happens to Luis on an episode of Sesame Street after he attempts to lift Gabi in the air in imitation of a ballet dance routine.
  • Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear (UK). It's Reality Subtext all the way, too.
  • Scrubs:
    • One episode has Dr Cox hurting his back playing basketball and trying to hide it the entire rest of the episode.
    • "Because back injuries are for old guys named Norman with pants up to here, nose hairs down to here, and begin every sentence with a very elegant (nose clearing sound followed by a loud hacking)."
  • The Steve Harvey Show: This happens to Cedric when Regina decides to give him a back rub before a dance competition.
    Cedric: Ow, my back! My whole left side!
  • A third season episode of Chuck had this happen to an older spy (masterfully played by Fred Willard), while he fought with his drunk wife.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? featured a game of Hollywood Director that went downhill fast after Chip Esten, as a rodeo rider, leapt on the bad back of Ryan Stiles; Ryan promptly cursed and told Chip to get off. As Ryan took a few seconds to recover, Colin Mochrie, still in character as the director, reminded Chip, "My God, he's over forty!" After the game, the jokes flew, and Chip added guiltily, "I broke Ryan..."
  • Tom puts his back out in one episode of The Good Life. At a very inconvenient time, though since he works almost every waking hour, that could have been almost any time.
  • On Family Matters, Laura has a Dream Sequence where she and Steve are an elderly married couple. A running gag during this scene is that sitting down and getting up is a 5-minute production, complete with grunts and bones cracking.
  • In the Christmas Episode of Jessie the butler yelps:
    Bertram: That crackling sound you hear? It's not the fire. It's my spine!
  • When Q of Star Trek: The Next Generation becomes human in the episode "Déjà Q", he finds, much to his chagrin, that there are drawbacks to having a middle-aged body. When he leans forward to look at a console display, he falls victim to muscle spasms, so there isn't that characteristic cracking sound, but it counts as a silent variation of the same trope (if you don't count his complaining).
    Q: This is incredible.
    Geordi: Do you see something here, Q?
    Q: [calmly] I think I just hurt my back... I'm feeling pain... I don't like it... what's the right thing to say? Ow?
    Geordi and Data: [both nod and speak in unison] Ow.
    Q: OWWW! I can't straighten up!
  • Subverted in That's So Raven. The dad used a water bottle to fake the sound.
  • Humorously done in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger with Kyoryu Violet doing his rollcall pose. This, in fact, happens to Dr. Ulshade every time he gets hyped with something (which, being he Shigeru Chiba, isn't that hard), but having it happen to him during the roll call is the last straw: he spends the entire fight paralyzed in his pose, and so he had to retire from Ranger duty, allowing his granddaughter Yayoi to take up his mantle.
  • Hill Street Blues: When a ridiculously obese Loan Shark keels over dead of a heart attack in the cells and practically the entire day-shift is enlisted to try and drag his corpse up the stairs and into a waiting ambulance, Andy Renko ends up straining his groin in the process. And just to quite literally add insult to injury, it was All for Nothing because the guy's Not Quite Dead.
  • Frasier has this happen to him while blowing out his birthday candles in the episode "Back Talk".
  • In Boy Meets World, Cory and Shawn are going outside to play some basketball, and Cory invites his dad to join them, but on his way out the door, his back goes out.
  • Agent Booth's back problems, and attempts to alleviate them, are something of a running gag in Bones. He once spent an entire episode's B-plot trying to get his hands on a deceased fellow agent's lumbar support chair. It didn't help.
  • The InBESTigators: In "The Case of the Extremely Empty Freezer", Mr. Baker throws his back out while doing the robot dance at his birthday party.
  • Supernatural, "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester": Dean gets to experience the pains of old age after temporarily gambling away his youth to a warlock. His elderly friend Bobby is unsympathetic, especially when Dean complains of back pain while Grave Robbing.
    Bobby: Can you straighten up? ...Butt cheek tingling? ...It's sciatica. You'll live. Keep digging.
  • Played for Drama in Cobra Kai. After a major brawl, Miguel suffers a back injury that leaves him paralyzed. He gets better and resumes karate training, but when he tries to fight in a tournament, he throws a kick and collapses to the ground in pain. Fortunately, this time he's only pulled a muscle.

    Video Games 
  • In Donkey Kong 64, if you fail to beat K. Rool in the time limit, Cranky will try to show you a few boxing moves. While demonstrating, an audible CRACK! is heard and he falls over, stiff. This has also happened several times in the cartoon series.
  • Happens in most The Sims games when adult Sims age up to elders, but only while they're transitioning.
  • This is used in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door when the Puni Elder looks like she's about to go into an Unstoppable Rage and start kicking ass...and then her back pops.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy IV DS, when Tellah levels up, he will cheer, only for his back to fail and pop. Amusingly, this is sometimes accompanied by him actually going down in physical stats.
    • An example of the character injury variant of this trope exists in Final Fantasy IX. If, during the second battle with Black Waltz No. 3, Dagger is the only player not KO'd, Black Waltz will not attack her and instead take damage, accompanied by a satisfying "Crack!". Understandable, since prior to the battle, Black Waltz was apparently hit by a train.
  • In Guilty Gear, Kliff Underson cannot backdash, but can bend his body slightly behind to dodge an upcoming attack. But since he's doing it in his aged body, there are occasions that his back cracks and he takes damage instead. This was however changed in later games; he can now do a proper backdash and his body-bending technique has since become a special attack.
  • Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth: When doing the Beach Yoga vacation event (which unlocks the Kunoichi job for female characters), Ichiban and Kiryu both wind up painfully throwing their backs out since they're both middle-aged men who aren't particularly flexible. In contrast, Chitose (a young woman in her 20s) proves to be even more flexible than the Yoga Instructor herself to the point that she decides that she can be a ninja.
  • Elderly enemies in Breath of Fire III and IV occasionally have an "attack" called "Bad Back", which costs them a turn. Including (in the former) one example of That One Boss, the Dragon Elder.
  • Urano Takehito from Tenchu 2.
  • Dr. Bosconovich from Tekken 3. His suffering bad back is the gimmick which his fighting style is build around: due to his inability to stand upright for long (and the problems to get him back to his feet), his style revolves around attacks done while lying on the ground.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, walking while crouching for a long time or committing a forward roll sometimes makes Old Snake groan and pat his back.
  • Mother 3: Alec is concerned about his lower back pain.
  • Early in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Ezio has to visit a doctor, who says that someone his age (he's about 40-odd by the start of Brotherhood) can't heal from normal medicine, instead giving Ezio drugs to numb the pain. As Ezio walks off, he scoffs at the doctors remark about 'someone his age'. A few seconds or so later and Ezio complains about his back. (Ezio will actually complain as soon as he performs a parkour move, so he could say this while climbing the church the player is directed to climb, or he could complain as soon as he hops on a fence.)
  • Sengoku Basara constantly makes jokes about the ancient Hojo Ujimasa's bad back.
  • This happens to Pete, twice, in Kingdom Hearts II. The first time, he (or rather, his past self) hurts his back after Sora fought him in a misunderstood battle in Timeless River; the second time, after tripping over some stones while descending from Pride Rock in the Pride Lands (justified, as he's turned into a lion here).
  • In Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, the middle-aged and out of shape Frank West does this a few times.
  • In Overwatch, Reinhardt is by far the oldest player character. One of his highlight poses has him flex, only to crack his back and grab it in pain.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this is a plot point: Bludo is prevented from warding away Divine Beast Rudania because his back hurts too much, leaving it up to Link and Yunobo. This continues on in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, where Bludo wants to stop a brainwashed Yunobo from ruining Goron City, but is once again prevented from doing anything by his aching back, meaning he must rely on Link.
  • In Harvest Moon: Light of Hope. upon meeting Gus and giving him an iron ore, a cutscene plays where he cramps his back. The player then offers to help him down the mountain back to his home.
  • In the Rusty's Real Deal Baseball branch where you don't haggle down the prices, Pappy Van Poodle will cheer so hard for Rusty's team that he throws out his back.
  • As colonists in RimWorld age, they can develop different illnesses, one of them is "bad back", which makes them slower.
  • Dragon Quest VI: In Somnia, the Hero runs into an old man who claims he would give Murdaw a trashing if he was five years younger. Then the old man yelps "Ow, my back!" and rephrases his statement to "Okay, maybe fifteen years younger..."
  • Mega Man Legends 2: At the end of the second boss fight with Klaymoore, the old timer will declare he's just getting warmed up...and then the loud crack is heard. Klaymoore has to be taken out of the ruins by his partner Bola, stammering in pain.
  • Triangle Strategy: On the Liberty route of Chapter XV, one of the two ways the chapter can play out is for Travis to suffer from back pains that prevent him from leading the attack on the Rosellan village. It's these same back pains that prevent him from joining your party, with his daughter Trish joining you in his stead.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • An Easter egg in the Strong Bad Email "the chair" has Strong Sad throwing his back out from trying to sit/lie on a ridiculous-looking designer chair.
    Strong Sad: Ooh! ...I can't feel my parts...
    • In "Halloween Hijinks", Coach Z mentions that he suffers from a "torn rubdominal scrimmage", a condition that results in this trope when he tries to blow a whistle at the Sad Kids for their pathetic attempts at Halloween Trickery (which involved vandalizing his house with deviled eggs and a few squares of two-ply toilet paper, acts that only qualify as "low-jinks", not hijinks).
  • Bad Days episode #1, "Spider-Man": The Vulture feels his back snap just as he's about to take flight. He's still stuck on the same spot when night falls.

  • There's an implied one in Skin Horse:
    Tip: It turns out Unity doesn't understand invitations to "get physical".
    Marcie: Oog.
    Tip: It could've gone worse. Most of my joints snapped right back into place.
  • A variation of the getting-beat-up version in Everyday Heroes, when two rude guys are on the receiving end of a Hyperspace Mallet ...
    Rude Dude #1: I can't feel my pancreas.
    Rude Dude #2: Lucky you. I can.
  • In Tales of the Questor, Emmet sweeps Kestrel into his arms and leans forward for a kiss, but, well, she has considerably more brawn than he has. With the crack, they both hit the ground. Fortunately, Kestrel laughs it off and still has feelings for Emmet.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In the American Dad! episode "Hayley Smith, Seal Team Six", after Roger hypnotizes Hayley into mentally returning to 6 years old, she makes Stan give her a piggyback ride, but since she's still physically a grown woman, he throws his back out.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • In the medieval Europe episode, one of the knights can't go through so much as a cheer without hurting his arm.
    • Big Damn Movie with the middle-aged concertgoers.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Naughty Nautical Neighbors", Squidward's back gives out as he's dragging a sleeping Patrick out of his house. Spongebob heals him by launching himself off a diving board and landing on Squidward's back, which somehow sets it back to normal. At the end of the episode, after Spongebob and Patrick destroy his house, the door lands on Squidward, causing his back to hurt again.
    • This has also happened to senior heroes Mermaidman and Barnacleboy.
    • There's also the stock audio of someone screaming "My leg!" (mostly a catchphrase of minor character Fred) as a variation.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In "Fallen Arches", the girls ask aged superhero Captain Righteous and his sidekick Lefty to go back into crime-fighting against the equally-aged Ministry of Pain. All involved ended up in the hospital with broken hips.
  • Grampa Simpson from The Simpsons can be heard saying this pretty much whenever he tries to dance or perform any athletic endeavor. "Oop, there goes my waggling finger..."
    • Mr. Burns is much the same way, where some scripts have him frailer than any human being should ever logically be due to his impossibly advanced age, up to and including partially deflating when he suffers a pinprick. He'll often complain of issues but never outright blame his age for it (though everyone else will at least silently acknowledge the fact).
  • Professor Farnsworth has been cricked and cracked various times in Futurama.
    • There was also the time he jumped for joy, clicked his heels together, and there was a slight cracking noise when he landed. "See? I only broke ONE ankle!"
  • Happens to Professor Porter in The Legend of Tarzan.
  • Invader Zim:
    • While it's not due to aging, in the first episode, when GIR land on Zim and knocks him over, we can hear Zim scream "My spine!" before the transmission ends.
    • In "Parent Teacher Night", an ad for aspirin GIR watches features a guy whose back gives out, causing him to yell "AH! MY SPIIINE!" and starts having a seizure and foam coming out of his mouth.
  • Lancer experiences it while chasing Sam and Tucker in the "Kindred Spirits" episode of Danny Phantom. In his case, it's a hip, shortly after Tucker taunts him by calling him "old man".
  • Old Bugs Bunny in the Looney Tunes short The Old Grey Hare: "Ow, durn this lumbago!"
  • In the Making Fiends episode "Pony", Charlotte's "pony" fiend tosses Marvin off-screen. A second or two later we hear Marvin cry "My spine!"
  • In El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, Manny slams face first at high speed into a clock. When Frida tells him what a good job he's done, but there's still one problem, he touches his back and asks, " shattered spine?"
  • Earthworm Jim brought us Lower Back Pain Man.
    "I'll be alright in a minute!"
  • Adventure Time has the Ice King protesting that he needs a magic back after his back makes cracking noises.
  • In an episode of Hey Arnold!, Big Bob throws out his back trying to get Miriam a bottle of Tabasco sauce and is out of commission for Big Bob's Beepers, leading to Miriam take his place until he recovers.
  • Johnny Bravo has an episode in which Johnny believes he's gotten old. His back cracks.
  • Happens to Eustace in Courage the Cowardly Dog in two episodes, in "Courage Meets Bigfoot" and in "The Magic Tree of Nowhere".
  • In Kick Buttowski a teacher who used to be a cheerleader attempts a cheer, only to seize up halfway through a bend, crying "Oh! My hip!"
  • The Boondocks: while attending his grandmother Nelly's funeral, Uncle Ruckus calls out his father, who was abused by Nelly as a child, for blaming his abusive treatment of his family on her. The senior Ruckus immediately tries to strike Uncle, only for his back to give out, which causes him to fall into Nelly's grave and break his neck.
  • Played with in The Smurfs (1981) episode "Papa's Wedding Day", as when Papa Smurf bends over to show Brainy and Vanity that being old doesn't mean a loss of health, he hears what he thinks is his back crunching, but in reality is just Greedy chewing on a vegetable within earshot. However...
    • The Smurfs (2021): In "Alien Smurf", Papa Smurf, who attempts to fight Smurfette when hypnotized, cracks his back.
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 101, Stumpy tries to lift a dumbbell off the ground. All he succeeds in doing is cracking his back.
  • Happens to Peter in the Family Guy episode "Bill & Peter's Bogus Journey" when he attempts to get into shape and after doing barely any exercise thinks he's strong enough to lift Bill Clinton's motorcade when it blows a tire in front of the Griffin house. He does the exact opposite of what you're supposed to do in that situation, namely lifting entirely with his lower back instead of his legs and moving in a twisting motion, causing him to immediately throw his back out and need to be rushed to the hospital.
  • All Grown Up! is set when the Rugrats are preteens and their parents are middle-aged. Although Chuckie's dad Chas has aged the least of all the fathers, he throws his back out on more than one occasion, thanks to Phil and Lil's mom Betty.
  • The Close Enough episode "Josh Gets Shredded" begins with Josh playing with his beloved daughter Candice throughout her life. However, as they both get older, Josh finds it harder to be able to pick her up like he used to, prompting him to get shredded.
  • In the Kid vs. Kat episode "Kat of Diamonds", Old Lady Munson finally gets better only to realize that she accidentally breaks her back again.
    Old Lady Munson: Ooh, Mommy's feeling better, Growler. A few more days and I'll be right as— (gasps) BURTONBUR— AH! MY BACK! This will send me back another two weeks! OW! OW! OW!
  • Skylanders Academy: In "Pop Rocks", to blend in with the crowd at the Skylands Music Festival, Jet-Vac shows off some of his rock n roll moves he's been working on. The younger Skylanders aren't that impressed, but hopes that he doesn't pull something. Cue Jet-Vac pulling something.
  • In the British animated short Granpa, Granpa has sudden back pain while dancing a lively 1920s-style dance with his granddaughter Emily, and has to sit down in his armchair. It's Played for Laughs in the moment, but it's also Foreshadowing that Granpa isn't as strong as he used to be. He gradually becomes weaker as the months pass, and in the end, he dies.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Crack Ow My Back


Master Wang Fu

Due to his advanced age, Master Fu's attempt to transform causes his back to flare up. At this point he decides that he can't rescue Nooroo alone.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / CrackOhMyBack

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