What Is Neck Crepitus – Should You Worry About It?

Crepitus is a Medical term to describe a crackling sound or a grinding feeling in any part of the body.

It is frequently experienced when a bone rubs against other bone (or adjoining tissue) or due to the interaction of the fluid with the tissue.

Crepitus is a sound or sensation experienced from rubbing between the bones, as experienced in various forms of joint arthritis.

Neck Crepitus

Additionally, crepitus can be experienced when the lung tissues or fluid in the lung rubs against each other.

A muffled sound with a crackling sensation is experienced when a person places his hand over the joint when it moves.

According to various researches and experiences of the patients, it is clearly noted that neck and shoulder crepitus is more disturbing than crepitus in other joints in the body.

The feeling is quite distracting since the sound in your ear disturbs you much with every turn you make, which can dampen your social lode.

Occasional crackling, grating, or grinding sounds without pain may not be more of a concern. And thus, crepitus with no pain is more regarded as a harmless problem. You should not at all worry about it as it can be treated with some simple techniques at home.

However, if a popping or grating sound persists recurrently or continuously with the pain while moving the neck, it may indicate something going wrong.

Since prolonged crepitus in the neck can be quite distracting and troublesome, management is essential at the initial stages, which is mainly targeted toward curing the underlying cause.

Causes Of Crepitus In Neck

Crepitus in the neck can be caused due to many reasons. It is mainly caused by a degenerative joint problem that is only beginning to surface.

The most common reason for it is osteoarthritis of the neck. In fact, it is one of the main symptoms of osteoarthritis of the neck.

Osteoarthritis is a condition that is caused due to wearing down of the cartilage between two neck bones (cervical vertebra). This may lead to stiffness and pain in the neck. It commonly occurs in adults; children may rarely suffer from these problems.

Crepitus is commonly felt and heard when one rotates his/her neck. This is not caused due to any underlying disease, but it is a result of mechanical movement of the neck. It may be deliberate or unknowingly.

Symptoms Of Neck Crepitus

Besides the crackling sensation or sound, crepitus in the neck is usually associated with other symptoms which are suggestive of arthritis – such as the pain experienced while moving the neck forward and backward or even while rotating the neck.

Patients may also complain of neck stiffness and muscle spasms during this. The sound of neck crepitus is often subdued, but sensation can be felt by the patient. It can be felt with the neck movement.

A few of the neck crepitus symptoms also include headache, weakness & numbness in the arms and hands.

The pain in the middle or on either side of your neck may also be felt which may radiate to the shoulder. If you have a headache, the pain frequently radiates to the back of your head. Pain can sometimes also be felt behind your eyes and in your ears.

These all symptoms may also result in fatigue and dizziness. You may experience dizziness, particularly while turning your head.

Dizziness and even blackouts are usually caused when the blood flow is temporarily blocked or reduced to the cervical region. It is best to see the doctor if the problem continues.

Treatment Options For Crepitus In Neck

The treatment of crepitus in the neck mainly depends on the underlying causes.

The key feature which concerns most the doctors has associated symptoms such as pain in the neck and stiffness. The good news is that crepitus is not a chronic problem. Solutions do exist, though it requires your patience.

If crepitus with no pain occurs in the neck only once due to forceful movement of the neck (like while lifting an object or rotating the neck), it may not be a major concern. In such cases, treatment is not required.

With some additional resting hours and sound sleep, the problem can be treated independently.

But if there is chronic pain in the neck along with crepitus with each neck movement made, the patient may require to be treated.

The best home remedy is getting a gentle massage of the joints. Getting a good massage using a massage gun helps to relax the tension in neck muscles and at the same time helps in easing the neck movements.

Getting in contact with a doctor is often recommended if the problem does not get solved soon. Your doctor may advise trying some simple neck crepitus exercises, which prove helpful.

If crepitus in the neck occurs due to osteoarthritis, pain-relieving medicines and a gentle massage are recommended by the doctor to alleviate the symptoms.

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