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Loud Pop in Neck Followed By Neck Pain
October 28, 2022

As we age, our joints weaken and things stop working as they used to. We may hear loud pop in neck followed by pain one day, but their routine appearance often leads us to drown them out and think they are “normal”. One of the common symptoms that adults tend to report to our chiropractic team at Advanced Spine and Posture in Las Vegas, NV is a clicking or popping sound when they turn their head to the side. Since this noise doesn’t always have to be accompanied by some severe neck pain, you don’t have to think about it and go about your day. 

Here are a few Symptoms;

The most common symptoms are:

1- Pain and Stiffness

You may feel pain in the middle or both sides of your neck, but it may also spread to your shoulder or upper chest other may include:

  • You may have pain or weakness in your arms.
  • You may have tension headaches where the pain can travel to the back of the head and sometimes to the ear or behind the eye.
  • It may be painful to move your neck and your muscles may be tight, especially if you have been sitting or sleeping in one position for a long time.
  • You may hear a crick in crick.
  • You may notice that your neck doesn’t turn as far as usual, such as when you try to look over your shoulder while backing up.

If you have pain and stiffness in your neck that comes on quickly, perhaps overnight, and you have trouble raising both arms above your head, this could be a sign of a condition called polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). It is an inflammatory condition of the muscles. It is more common in people over the age of 65. If you think you have this condition, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

2- Numbness or Tingling

A nerve can become pinched when the muscles, bones, or tissues surrounding it put too much pressure on it. As a result, you may experience numbness, tingling, or tingling that you can feel down your arm, sometimes down to your fingers.

You will find that the numbness and tingling will go away as the problem resolves itself. However, if your symptoms are severe, consult your doctor; they may be able to prescribe medication that targets the pinched nerve, such as gabapentin or pregabalin.

3- Clicking Sounds

You may hear or feel a clicking or grinding sound when you move your head. This is called crepitus and can be caused by air bubbles popping or the tissues and bones moving past each other in the joint. Other joints often do this as well, but sounds from your throat usually seem louder because they happen closer to your ears. You may also find that they are more noticeable at night. Although this common symptom may sound alarming, it is nothing serious.

4- Dizziness and Blackouts

If you feel dizzy when you look up or turn your head, it may be caused by pinching of the arteries that run along the spine, otherwise known as the vertebral arteries. Sometimes this can happen due to changes in the vertebrae. Pinching of these vertebral arteries can occasionally cause blackouts as blood flow is temporarily restricted. However, blackouts can have other causes, so it’s important to seek medical attention if this happens to you.

5- Muscle Cramps

A muscle spasm is a sudden stiffening of a muscle or groups of muscles in your body. There is often no known cause and they can be very uncomfortable. When it occurs in the neck, it usually causes pain and stiffness on one side, which can make it difficult to turn your head.

It usually lasts only a few hours or days, although rarely it can last for several weeks. You can try to relieve the pain at home with gentle stretches, over-the-counter pain relievers, and heat or ice packs. People with muscle spasms report that the application of heat is particularly soothing.

6- Other Symptoms

If you have long-lasting neck pain and stiffness, especially if you have disturbed sleep, you can feel very tired and it is not surprising that you can start to feel rather down or in a bad mood. It may help to talk about your pain with friends, family, or your doctor.

How Risky is it to Crack Your Neck?

Neck cracking or a loud pop in neck followed by pain can be harmful if you don’t do it right or if you do it too often. Cracking your neck too hard can pinch the nerves in your neck. A pinched nerve can be extremely painful and make it difficult or impossible to move the neck.

Cracking your neck too much can also strain the muscles around the joints and the joints themselves. Feeling like you need to break your neck a lot can result from hypermobility. This is when your joint has a greater range of motion than normal.

When you give in to the urge to crack your neck a lot, the ligaments in your joints can become permanently stretched. When this happens, your neck joints are more at risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Your neck is home to many important blood vessels. In some cases, cracking your neck too hard or too often can puncture one of these blood vessels. It can also cause blood to clot, which can be dangerous because it blocks blood flow to your brain.

Some Causes:

Neck pain is very common and most of us will experience it at some point in our lives. Usually, neck pain is the result of holding the neck in the same position for too long. However, neck pain doctor can cause or contribute to neck pain, such as:

  • Worry or stress
  • He sleeps awkwardly
  • An accident that may cause cervical spine injury
  • sprain or strain.

Many people have a stiff and painful neck for no apparent reason. It can happen after sitting in a draft or after a minor twisting injury, such as while working in the garden.  This is the most common type of neck pain and usually goes away after a few days if you keep gently moving your neck and rest when you need to. However, if your neck problems persist or significantly affect your daily activities, then it is wise to see a doctor or other healthcare professional.

You Can Treat it Like This:

Simple self-treatment and a day or two of rest are often enough to lift a neck pain spell. But if you have a more complex or persistent neck problem, a healthcare professional will be able to recommend other treatments and therapies that should help. If your pain persists, your doctor may also prescribe stronger painkillers, although these are not suitable for everyone.

  • Physical Treatment

Physiotherapists, chiropractors, and osteopaths are trained to treat neck problems. Treatment by one of these therapists along with home exercises is often all that is needed. They can suggest general or specific stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck.

  • Manipulation

Manipulation is a type of manual therapy that is used to adjust parts of your body to treat stiffness. It can be uncomfortable at the time, so it’s important to understand what it’s all about. Be sure to discuss your condition with your therapist and explain your symptoms. This will allow them to make a more informed decision about what types of treatment they are most likely to benefit from.

It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a health professional before attempting the manipulation, as although some people report benefiting from it, it is not suitable for everyone.

  • Alexander Technique

The Alexander technique is a method of teaching body awareness and reducing unwanted muscle tension. A qualified teacher will advise you on your standing and sitting position and movement patterns. Some physiotherapists are trained in this technique but it is not always available on the NHS. If you have spinal problems such as a slipped disc, this technique may not be suitable for you.

  • Collars

For some, a special collar to support the neck helps with more serious or complex health problems. They are not normally required.

  • Acupuncture

During an acupuncture session, very fine needles are inserted virtually painlessly into a number of places on the skin. These are not necessarily in the painful area. Acupuncture appears to relieve pain in the short term by interfering with signals to your brain and causing the release of natural pain relievers known as endorphins.

  • Injection

In a very small number of cases, especially if you have persistent pain in the back of your head or arm, a long-acting local anesthetic or steroid injection may help. The injection is usually given to the small facet joints in the neck. These injections are usually given in the X-ray department so that the specialist can precisely place the needle.

  • Surgery

Surgery is needed only exceptionally. It can be helpful if a nerve or spinal cord is compressed and is causing weakness in the arm or severe pain that won’t go away. The surgeon will ask for a scan to look at the nerves and bones before discussing with you the pros and cons of surgery and whether to proceed with surgery.