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My Neck Cracks a Lot

Do I need treatment if my neck cracks a lot?

Cracking sounds in the neck are fairly common. In fact, it’s likely that most people have heard cracking or popping sounds when moving their neck and head. These sounds are natural and harmless in most cases, and even people whose necks crack a lot shouldn’t be too worried about it, unless the cracking is accompanied by other specific symptoms. 

What causes necks to crack?

There are certain things that can cause necks to crack a little or a lot. A few factors that can cause this noise to come from your neck include: 

  • Gas escaping from facet joints — Paired joints called facet joints run up and down your neck, and these joints provide a lot of the flexibility associated with the neck. Each of the facet joints is surrounded by a capsule that’s filled with fluid and gas. Stretching of the joint capsule causes a release of gas in the form of bubbles. It’s this gas release that can cause popping or cracking sounds. 
  • Tendon or ligament movement — As the neck moves, tendons and ligaments move, too. Tendons can move slightly out of place during certain movements, and when they snap back into place, you might hear a snapping sound. Tightening of ligaments during neck movement can also lead to such a sound. 

When should you seek help if your neck is cracking a lot?

In many cases, a lot of cracking or popping sounds in the neck is harmless, but there are also some serious medical issues that can cause these sounds. Some of these issues include cervical osteoarthritis or car accident injuries like whiplash. People who have one of these serious issues typically have other symptoms besides neck cracking. It’s a sign that you should seek medical attention if you have neck cracking along with: 

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness in shoulders, arms or hands

SOL Physical Therapy can help you if you have a serious issue causing your neck to crack a lot

Is your neck painful and cracking a lot? Our therapy specialists at SOL Physical Therapy can help you learn why. We offer complimentary screenings designed to reveal the issue that’s causing your neck problems. Additionally, we can build you a personalized therapy plan intended to address your neck symptoms. 

There are several ways you can put your plan into practice. You can come to an in-clinic appointment, but the coronavirus pandemic might make you leery of this option. Not to worry! Our team also offers virtual care sessions and at-home therapy appointments, which allow you to get help without leaving home. Even better, you can start using our services without a doctor’s referral. 

Don’t wait to start getting our help with your neck issue. Contact our team today for more information about how we can help or to schedule your initial appointment. 

About the author

Sports + Orthopedic Leaders Physical Therapy & Performance Training serves the communities of Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Orinda, San Francisco and beyond. SOLPT’s award winning team of Physical Therapists, Performance Coaches and movement experts has helped thousands reach their rehabilitation and performance goals to move beyond pain. We're committed to helping anyone of any fitness level move effectively and more powerfully for a lifetime. We offer rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.