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Neck Cracking and Grinding

Does your Neck Grinding when you move it?

Maybe sometimes it’ll click or pop, and it just sounds strange.

Does this mean you have a neck problem? This article will discuss if and when you should be concerned about sounds coming from your neck.

We will also teach you what you can do in the comfort of your home to help reduce or eliminate that neck grinding or neck cracking sound.

Neck Cracking and Grinding

Causes of Neck Grinding Sounds

Many tissues in your neck can cause sounds when you move them. 

  • The first tissues that can cause, sometimes what you’d think an unsettling sound, coming from your neck are tendons and ligaments. Sometimes these tissues will tighten, they can get inflamed, and when you move and stretch them, they will sometimes click or roll over a tubercle on a bone, which is just a tiny little outcropping, and sometimes they will make a noise when that happens. 
  • Another thing that can cause clicking or popping in your neck is the joint capsule itself. At the back of the spine, there are two facet joints at each segment. They sometimes will release gas. If they’re moved too much or too little, they release gas, making a popping sound. 
  • Sometimes the joints in the neck will have deteriorated or become arthritic. That means the joint surfaces are not smooth anymore. So sometimes, those sounds will be coming from a damaged joint. 
  • And finally, in clinical practice, one of the common causes we see that can cause clicking, popping, or neck grinding is when the neck alignment is not in the proper position or some of the joints aren’t moving correctlyWhenen you move; if there are joints that aren’t moving correctly are out of alignment, then some joints above or below will move too much to compensate for the joints that aren’t moving enough. When this happens, there are gas forms in the joints, and they release a popping or clicking sound. 
Neck Cracking and Grinding

When Neck Cracking Needs Attention

When should you seek professional help? 

There are a few times we need to investigate further why your neck is making sounds(Neck Grinding):

  • If you move your neck and it’s associated with any pain or stiffness, or it sends tingling down your arm into your hand, that could suggest the noises in your neck are a concern and need to be addressed. 
  • And another time you want to be concerned about the grinding, popping, or clicking of your neck is if there is dizziness associated with it when you move your neck. This could be caused by something called cervicogenic dizziness or cervical vertigo, and this should be investigated. 
  • And finally, another time you should be concerned about the noises coming from your neck is if you have a severely reduced range of motion or your neck locks up. 

That is another time you should seek professional help to determine the cause of your neck grinding. 

Stretches and Exercises for Neck

Let’s get right to the stretches. There are three stretches that you can Stretches do in the comfort of your home to help eliminate or reduce the sounds coming from your neck.

For all three of these stretches, we want you to do ten on each side for a total of 20 repetitions for each of these three stretches. They should be done twice a day to help eliminate those sounds.

Consistency is key here.

Remember, our joints are designed to move. They were never intended to sit in one position, stare at a screen and not move – motion is lotion for your joints.
If you’re not moving your joints, those joints cannot be healthy.

  • The first one is going to be a lateral stretch.
    We want to ensure that we are stretching to our full range of motion, and you really should feel and visualize those joints sliding over the top of one another and stretching out the muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
    So we want to do this ten times on each side, very slowly.
    And if you’re slow and you listen, you may hear some of those movements or sounds coming from the directions in the joints.
    That is entirely okay if there’s no pain or other symptoms.
    Another thing I should mention is that do not do these stretches when you first wake up; your joints are stiff. So get up, move around a little bit, have a coffee, have your tea, whatever your routine is, and then start implementing these stretches.
    These will take you minutes twice daily, and you’ll notice significant results. 
  • The second stretch combines a chin or head protraction with a retraction. Again, very slow and controlled. We’re going to go ten forward and ten back. Again we’re trying to slide those joints over one another. 
  • For the third one, we’re going to do a semicircular stretch. We’re going to look down, and we’re going come up, back and forth. You will hold for about one to two seconds at each end range.
    And again, these are controlled, straightforward stretches. It would be best if you were visualizing the smooth gliding of the joints, the gentle stretches of your ligaments, and the gentle stretches of your muscles again.
    You want to feel these, likely producing some of those sounds in your neck. 
Neck Cracking and Grinding

How to Stretch Your Neck

  • And if you find you can get through these quickly, you can add one more, and it’s a simple rotation.
    Make sure your head is over top of your shoulders. You’re not slouched forward. Your shoulders are kind of in a neutral position.
    You’re sitting up, so you’re not putting any stress through your lower back for all these stretches and work through them very slowly. 

We can’t stress enough how important consistency is here.
If you do them once or twice, in Conclusion, you won’t notice a big difference, but if you can commit twice a day for weeks, we know you’ll see a change.

Not only will you notice a change in the sounds coming from your neck, but you’ll notice a change in your range of motion.  

The range of motion for a joint is the life joint. You’ll feel better. You’ll function better, and you’ll move better. 

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