Neck Crepitus: What Causes Grinding Sound In Neck and How Is It Treated?

What Is Neck Crepitus?

Crepitus normally is a medical term used for a popping or grinding sound that sometimes comes from various parts of the body especially the foot and the neck. This grinding sound is caused due to rubbing of two bones against each other. If this grinding sound is heard frequently from the joints then it is a sign of arthritis. When this grinding, popping or cracking sound is heard from the neck then it is called as Neck Crepitus. This is quite a common phenomenon and is a sign that the person has arthritis. Arthritis of the neck is a medical condition in which there is wearing out of the bones of the neck making them stiff and resulting in pain and popping of the joints. Neck Crepitus is usually seen in older adults and is a rare phenomenon in youngsters. Neck Crepitus is not a medical condition and is just a symptom of an underlying condition thus treatment is aimed at the underlying cause of Neck Crepitus.

Neck Crepitus

What Can Cause Neck Crepitus Or What Causes Grinding Sound In Neck?

There can be numerous causes for Neck Crepitus or grinding sound from neck. If an individual experiences occasional popping of the neck then it is not a cause for concern as it is a natural thing. Such type of crepitus does not pose any threat to the joints. The problem starts when Neck Crepitus is associated with pain and restricts movement of the neck which may suggest some underlying issues with the cervical spine. The most common cause for Neck Crepitus or the grinding sound from neck is osteoarthritis of the cervical spine. Osteoarthritis is a medical condition in which the cartilage which acts as cushion between the vertebrae is worn out due to age and stress and strain of everyday use. Hence Neck Crepitus is usually seen in people above the age of 50. Neck Crepitus is normally audible when the individual moves the neck. The patient may also experience pain and have restricted motion of the neck. The neck also becomes stiff.

What Are The Symptoms Of Neck Crepitus?

What Are The Symptoms Of Neck Crepitus?

Neck Crepitus is usually accompanied with symptoms which point to arthritis like pain with motion of the neck, neck stiffness, restricted range of motion of the neck. Usually, Neck Crepitus is not so audible and only the patient is able to listen to it. This sound is only audible with motion of the neck. Some of the other symptoms experienced by the patient with Neck Crepitus are headache, weakness with numbness of the upper extremities. The patient may also experience excessive fatigue and sleep disturbance.

Treatment For Neck Crepitus Or Treatment For Grinding Sound In Neck?

Treating Neck Crepitus depends on the cause of it. If the crepitus in the neck or the grinding sound from neck is caused due to arthritis then treatment of arthritis is done but the concerning fact is the restricted range of motion along with pain and stiffness of neck. In case if the patient experiences weakness or other neurologic symptoms in the upper extremities then it might suggest potentially more serious condition in the cervical spine. If Neck Crepitus is caused due to forceful motion of the neck while lifting something up or due to sudden motion of the neck then it is not a cause of concern and it does not require any sort of treatment. In case of pain with Neck Crepitus then gentle massage of the neck is recommended which facilitates neck motion and also increases tension in the neck muscles. Pain medications are recommended for control of pain if Neck Crepitus is caused due to osteoarthritis along with gentle exercises. Sometimes a cervical collar or a brace is also quite effective in controlling the symptoms caused by Neck Crepitus or getting rid of grinding sound from neck.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 29, 2022

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