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Q.

My neck is making a crunching/grinding noise when I turn my head. Should I be concerned?

 

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

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A.
Sounds associated with joint motion are usually of no great importance unless there are other symptoms. For example, a cracking sound from the knee when going from a standing to a squatting position is unlikely to matter much if it is not accompanied by pain, limitation of motion or swelling. The same goes for cracking knuckles or crunching noises in the neck.

The neck has an intricate arrangement of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles that allow the upper spine to turn, bend and rotate while protecting the spinal cord and other nearby structures. Some people notice noises or a grinding sensation in the course of normal neck motion.

Of course, crunching or grinding noises during neck motion that is associated with other symptoms could be important. For example, such noises accompanied by neck pain, arm weakness or numbness could be an indication of arthritis, disc disease or a combination of these.

If you are concerned about the noises you're hearing during neck motion, see your doctor. While it's unlikely to be due to anything serious, the reassurance may be worth the visit.

Copyright 9/2/2010 Harvard University. All rights reserved. HHP/HMS content licensing handled by Belvoir Media Group.

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If there's crunching in your neck when you turn it, then see your local chiropractor. Chiropractors have all of the training of a medical doctor as well as additional years of training as a specified chiropractor. The crunching is a sign of a vertebral subluxation which can and will eventually lead to other problems. Get it corrected and get the joints moving freely again by getting evaluated and adjusted. A subluxation puts pressure on surrounding nerves and the signal before it gets to the intended organ, muscle etc. This causes acute as well as chronic problems with organs and can cause joint pain, long term muscle tightness/stiffness, loss of range of motion, migraines, nerve damage, hearing impairment, etc. 
A regular medical doctor won't have any idea how to heal you. In fact a good medical doctor will refer you to a chiropractor for improved health and healing.

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