Neck Cracking and Grinding

If you hear or even feel cracking and grinding sounds in your neck, it is important to recognize the symptoms. Cracking and grinding in your neck can cause pain, increased stiffness, a grinding sound when you turn your head, and more. Learn how to get help here. 

What Causes Neck Crackling and Grinding? 

Neck cracking and grinding can be the result of a variety of different problems, including tendonitis, arthritis or a herniated disc. Other possible causes include misalignment of the neck due to muscle tension leading to joint instability, although this is not common. 

It is important to get an accurate diagnosis so you can find the right treatment option for your particular problem.

What Are the Symptoms of Neck Cracking and Grinding? 

The most common symptoms of neck cracking and grinding include:

  • Pain when you move your head in certain directions
  • Grinding and cracking sounds from the neck
  • Increased stiffness in the area
  • Other signs may include headaches at the base of the skull
  • Tenderness or pain in the neck muscles
  • The sensation of a “clicking” or cracking sound in one or more joints

 If these symptoms are persistent and severe, be sure to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

When Should You See a Doctor for Neck Cracking or Grinding?

If you experience a cracking and grinding sensation in your neck that does not go away or worsens after a few days, be sure to see a doctor. Without treatment, the condition may develop into something more serious, such as arthritis or disc damage in the area.

Also, you should see a doctor as soon as possible if you are impaired in your daily activities due to the pain, cramps or discomfort caused by the symptom.

How Is Neck Cracking and Grinding Diagnosed? 

Diagnosis of neck cracking and grinding usually involves a physical examination. During the exam, the doctor will review your medical history and ask questions about your symptoms. 

The doctor may then use imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRIs, to diagnose problems with the joint or muscles in your neck. Depending on the results of these tests, further testing may be needed to accurately diagnose whether there is an underlying cause for the condition. 

What Treatments Are Available for Neck Cracking and Grinding? 

Treatment of neck cracking and grinding in the neck depends on the underlying cause. Options include physiotherapy, medications, injections and even surgery in some cases. 

A physiotherapist at The Back Clinic will help reduce tension in the neck muscles and improve mobility. If needed, they will recommend the DBC exercise program to strengthen the supporting muscles of your neck and upper back. 

Your doctor may also prescribe medications, such as anti-inflammatories, to relieve the discomfort and pain associated with neck cracking and grinding.



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