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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: Squishy/crunchy sounds at back of neck

 OrcaBC - Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:59 pm

Most recently acquired new symptoms with neck. I am 48, obese, and I was told I have some degenerative changes at T8 and lower back with have bouts of severe pain. My most recent bout with my back has brought some pain and stiffness in the back of my neck and I get the occasional headache. If I tip my head shoulder to shoulder, side to side, or when I walk up stairs I have squishy/crunchy sounds at the back of my neck/base of skull. I can think of no other words to describe the sounds. My neck is stiff more than painful.

I tried searching the forums (and internet) but only found posts having to do with sounds in the ears. This definitely does not sound like it is in my ears, and as I say, I only hear it when I move my neck or climb stairs. Considering all the other things happening with my back I tend to believe otherwise. I appreciate any help. Thanks.
 Debbie Miller, RN - Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:52 pm

User avatar The "crunchy" sounds could be due to a condition called "crepitus" resulting from joint degeneration. This could be from osteoarthritis, autoimmune disorders or other problems. If this is the case it probably can "pop" again immediately after in the same place. If it cannot repeat again just as before within 15 to 30 minutes, it is more likely cavitation - like "popping" or "cracking" your knuckles and the vacuum needs a little time to recover. The stiffness could be from your sleep position.

Some people get relief with a trusted brand of glucosamine (a supplement) in the former and/or adjustments by a chiropractor and intermittent heat application if it is due to sleep positioning. Simple "cracking" is not harmful.

I won't pretend to know this is really what is going on here without an examination - it's just my best shot. Good luck with it.
 OrcaBC - Sat Dec 22, 2007 7:16 pm

Thanks for the reply, Debbie. The sound is not a 'cracking' sound, like that of a bone cracking as you describe. The squishy/crunchy sound is more like rice krispies crackling in a bowl when the milk is poured over them. It's not like it just happens once and then again in a bit; it makes a noise every time I move my neck or when I climb stairs. It isn't like something popping in and out of place. The stiffness hasn't gone away and sometimes is more sore than other times.

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