You have probably experienced the occasional neck crack or pop, but does that indicate a more serious health issue? In general no, infrequent cracking does not necessarily mean that you should visit your chiropractor, but there are a few things that could indicate a more serious problem.
Crepitus refers to sensations or noises experienced during joint movement. The noises are often described as cracking, snapping, popping, or grinding. The sounds may be caused by air trapped in the subcutaneous tissue or the joints. The sounds may also be caused by the muscles or tendons sliding over bones. In some cases if the cartilage has worn down in the joints you may hear the grinding of bones wearing against each other.
If you have recently been in an accident or have lately sustained an injury and you notice new cracking sounds or you feel grinding in the area, those may be indications of a larger problem. You should go to see your chiropractor to make sure that your body is functioning properly. If you have had a recent surgery new cracking sounds may not be an indication of an issue, but it might be good to talk to your chiropractor just in case.
Pain is a good indicator as well, speaking to your chiropractor about any neck or back pain can help you head off imbalances or issues before they grow into chronic pain and discomfort. If the popping sounds are very frequent or nearly constant this may indicate a problem with the joints. Swelling is also an indication that the little pops and cracks are problematic.
If you notice a loss of range of motion, or a stiffness in your neck you may want to consult your chiropractor to increase range of motion and address any imbalances in the area. Maintaining a wide range of motion and relaxed muscles can prevent injuries.
Your chiropractor may work to realign the spine to improve your body’s performance. Massage may also be suitable to relieve muscle tension and help alleviate stiffness. Simple stretches or exercises intended to strengthen weak portions of the neck or back may be suggested to help reduce crepitus. If you have any concerns about the pops or cracks you hear when you turn your head, call our office and schedule an appointment today.