My Neck Creaks – Is It Serious?

Maybe you’ve felt your neck pop as you turn your head, or maybe it creaks every time you lean over to say hi to a coworker. It can be alarming if you quickly turn your neck only to hear it pop or creak. But is it serious?

As experienced chiropractors, Barry Hughes, DC and Brittany Anz, DC at Premier Chiropractic in Pearland, Texas, are experts in treating neck pain. And today, we’re here to answer the titular question: is neck creaking serious?

Do Your Joints Creak?

Just like your knees might creak when you walk up a flight of stairs, your neck can creak, too. In fact, there’s even a term for this sensation: crepitus. Crepitus refers to the creaking, cracking, or even popping sound that your joints make. The popping sound is made by tiny nitrogen gas bubbles. As an isolated symptom, creaking joints isn’t necessarily a problem, but it can occur with joint disorders.

You can check to see if the creaking in your neck is a sign of harmless crepitus. To test this, repeat the movement (turning your head, etc.) that made the initial creak. If your neck doesn’t creak again, your initial neck creaking was likely harmless crepitus. It can take about 20 minutes for gas bubbles to reform in your joints, which is why your crepitus doesn’t cause creaking every time you move or bend your neck.

When to Worry About Creaking

Popping gas bubbles isn’t the only source of neck creaking. Popping, grinding, and creaking in the neck can also arise from damage in one of the cervical joints in your neck. Your cervical joints may become dysfunctional as a result of acute injuries or osteoarthritis. You might suspect that the creaking in your neck is more than gas bubbles if:

  • Your neck creaks every time you move a certain way (regardless of how much or how little time passes between each movement)
  • The creaking and cracking is accompanied by swelling and/or pain
  • The creaking started shortly after an injury
  • It’s more of a grinding sensation than a popping (grinding can be a sign of bone-on-bone movement associated with osteoarthritis)

Even though neck popping can be harmless, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Swift treatment can help prevent small issues from snowballing into larger ones. If notice an increase in neck creaking 一 or any of these signs of cervical joint dysfunction 一 make an appointment with Dr. Hughes or Dr. Anz.

What Can Chiropractic Care Do For Neck Pain?

If your neck cracks due to an underlying issue, our team can recommend the right treatments based on your specific needs. We offer chiropractic treatments, soft tissue work, and acupuncture. Cervical manipulation, also called a neck adjustment, is a precise procedure applied to your neck joints. According to the American Chiropractic Association, cervical manipulation improves the mobility of your cervical spine, restores the range of motion in your neck, and supports movement of the adjacent muscles. Chiropractic care helps to reduce your neck pain as well as stiffness.

To learn more about chiropractic care for neck pain, call our Pearland, Texas, office at 281-223-1172. You may also request an appointment online.