Is it serious if my neck cracks a lot?

My Neck Cracks a Lot

The answer to this question could be both yes and no. In some cases, neck cracking is just a natural reaction of your joints. Neck cracking can also be a deliberate action intended to help improve joint flexibility, and it can also release endorphins that fight pain and improve mood. However, it can also be a sign of a neck problem if you’re experiencing other symptoms too. 

What causes the cracking in my neck? 

Many people who have a lot of neck cracking are just dealing with a natural joint process. Each person has two facet joints at the rear of each vertebrae. These joints allow your neck to bend and flex. They also have capsules around them that contain fluid. 

Stretching your neck causes the pressure on your facet joint capsules to decrease. As the pressure decreases, some of the fluid in the joint capsules turns to a gas. This change in the joint fluid is what causes the cracking noise you hear, and the change is called cavitation.

When is a lot of cracking my neck a sign of a more serious problem?

There are times when a lot of cracking in the neck is an indication of a neck issue. One issue that can cause this is damaged cartilage in the facet joints. Often, this issue occurs when people have neck osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis is also called cervical spondylosis, and it affects more than 85% of adults over 60. 

People with a serious neck issue that causes cracking will also typically have other symptoms. Some of these symptoms may include: 

  • Unusual neck swelling
  • Pain when moving the neck
  • Pain that is present most or all days for the past three months (chronic pain)

Find help for issues that cause a lot of neck pain and cracking at Whatcom Physical Therapy

Looking for a place where you can get help for your neck issues? Whatcom Physical Therapy has specialists who are primed to assist you. Our team offers complimentary screenings intended to reveal the precise issue you’re experiencing. We also excel at building personalized neck pain treatment plans to fit your specific needs. 

Are things keeping you at home? Whatcom Physical Therapy can still help you. We’re offering virtual care sessions, and these allow you to meet with a therapist without even leaving your home. 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.