Neck cracking, what does it mean?

Why does my neck crackle or pop?

Neck crackling is called crepitus. It often feels like a crunching or grinding sensation in your neck that can be painless or accompanied by discomfort. Often times is occurs when you turn your head from side to side and other times when you look up and back. There are a number of reason’s why this occurs and often times opinions vary between the medical professions. Being experts in the spine, chiropractors often have the best knowledge of what’s really neck red spinegoing on with neck pain and/or crepitus. Crepitus can be due to a number of reasons. Some of the more common reasons are arthritis in the spine, injury such as in whiplash or trauma where the head is jarred, and/or restriction in the spinal joints. There can also be issues where a person who has arthritis will also have joint restrictions and this can cause noise in your neck when you move it. All of these cases have one thing in common, there is an alignment issue with the joints of the spine where one or more joints aren’t working properly. Often times there is some form of discomfort associated with crepitus and this is what brings the individual to the doctor in the first place. If there’s pain associated with crepitus, it’s usually the result of underlying inflammation associated with the spinal joints due to a long term problem that hasn’t yet been resolved.


How do I fix my neck from cracking, popping or grinding?neck xray

If you see your primary care doctor for neck pain and associated crepitus, the most likely treatment would be some type of NSAID. Hopefully, they would be a progressive physician and know about the value of chiropractic care for this problem. For any type of spinal problem the most conservative way to treat it is to refer to the experts in this field, the chiropractors of course.  Chiropractic care is unlike any other and is by far the best way to correct the problem of neck pain and/or crepitus-crackling. The chiropractic exam includes a detailed analysis of your neck and spinal joints. Chiropractors can determine if the neck cracking, popping or grinding is coming from a misaligned spinal joint, arthritic change or a simple joint restriction. X-rays can also be of help to check for any spinal degeneration or abnormality not seen on the exam.

Why chiropractic care is the right choice

The method of treatment that chiropractors utilize is called an adjustment. Chiropractors have thousands of  hours in training to do this one thing where as other professions such as osteopathy or physical therapy do not. A gentle spinal adjustment to the involved area will not only resolve your pain but it can help to correct this problem and get your neck moving properly without the unnecessary noise.

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Images: x-rays/neck: courtesy of Praisaeng at,

girl: courtesy of nenetus at