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Does anyone get lots of popping and cracking in neck?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Guava, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Guava

    Guava Peer Supporter

    Hello there. I think I may have TMS, but another symptom I get is lots of tension and popping and cracking in my neck pretty much constantly all day everyday. The pain levels vary and I have been trying to use the TMS approach and it has been helping, but I've not heard of anyone having this as well, which is making it harder to stay convinced. I was wondering if anyone else has this?
  2. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Hi Guava,
    a friend of mine who has TMS in his neck has this popping and cracking sounds (I heard it several times when he moved his head). It's also "normal" in very tensed knees and other areas. And it's normal in not TMS-afflicted areas, too. I just moved my head to check out if there're sounds like you discribed and yes, I noticed some popping and cracking and gritting sound. I guess I did not even notice that because I have no pain in my neck. Maybe, if I had pain there, I'd already paid some attention to these noises. The mind probably interpretes these noises as "dangerous" and strange when in pain and doesn't even notice them when not in pain. Does it make sense to you?
    trypp likes this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    The symptoms that are part of TMS can be pretty much anything. Remember, TMS will only manifest itself as something that you think is a physical problem. The symptom will always be something that you initially worry about. I'm not a doctor, so I can't say exactly what is going on with you, but if you fit the TMS personality it probably is.
  4. Guava

    Guava Peer Supporter

    Thank you very much for both of your replies. Yes, birdie I do understand that. Its just that i had started to become quite good at keeping the pain away, and had been increasing my activities e.g started swimming. But even when I am not in any pain I will always have this popping and cracking, and i'll concentrate on it more, and then it will eventually make me sore and bring the pain on again.
    Forest- I guess initially the pain was the main concern of mine, but now that I had been sorta ignoring it, and telling myself that its all TMS, and not really letting it get me so angry etc, I have realised that it has improved so I was pretty convinced it is TMS. I hae also had practically every medical test, and like so many others on here, seen very many doctors, and been to pain clinics to no avail, so that is for me reinforcing the idea of TMS and I definately fit the personality. What I have found is that even if I am feeling a bit better, after a few weeks i'll start to have some doubts, and go completely down hill again, becoming extremely depressed that I will never be where I was again in my life, and that my situation won't change. How do you keep yourself going?
  5. Dr James Alexander

    Dr James Alexander TMS author and psychologist

    Guava- yes, i also have plenty of popping and cracking in my neck, but fortunately, no pain. Around 7 years ago i fractured 3 vertebrae in my neck and picked up 2 disc bulges in a surfing accident (hit my head on a sand bar in shallow water). I never had the cracking etc before hand, but have had it ever since. As it is not associated with any pain, i have no doubt that (for me at least) it is totally benign. It would seem to relate to the accident as it never happened before- i have often wondered what it could be about, and speculate that it may relate to tendons/ligaments having been somehow stretched by the impact on the sand bar, and thereby allowing more movement in my neck vertebrae than before- only a guess. There seems to be a build up of muscular tension in my neck over the course of a normal day (but never enough to become sore), and the tension is often alleviated by turning my neck in a certain way until it clicks/pops. I never noticed the tension (or its alleviation by popping) prior to the accident. Again, i suspect that things have become a bit loosened up in my cervical spine from the impact. When i did my neck, i played another 3 seasons of Australian Rules Football (at a too old age) without any neck pain, despite it being a high impact/physical game. In fact, because i was armed with TMS knowledge when i damaged my neck, i never experienced anything more than the acute pain that follows an injury and resolves within a matter of weeks. I did the injury early January (our summer) and was playing football again in April the same year-and its not because i am tough, because i am not- its just that knowing what can/can't produce chronic pain enabled me to not experience it. And my neck has been fine ever since.

    You may have a similar physical condition (stretching, resulting in the popping?) and the pain may be a totally separate issue (eg TMS)? My experience tells me it is possible to have a physical issue without pain.
    trypp likes this.
  6. Guava

    Guava Peer Supporter

    Thank you for your response. Yes I guess that is possible. For me, I noticed a small amount of cracking in my neck following a fall I had. But it never bothered me very significantly. However, as my pain became a very serious disabling problem for me, the cracking and popping also stepped up in gear, and at times now it is even more of an annoyance than the pain. Like you have mentioned it seems that there is a constant build up of tension in my neck and that the popping/cracking seems to alleviate this, but only momentarily for me, and then it builds up again. I'm in so much discomfort from it, but i've had scans etc and it hasn't really revealed anything. The cracking/popping occurs 24/7 for me, often every 30 seconds, and i've never been able to come across anyone who experiences this in the same way I do. It worries me a lot also because i am very young- 21 years old, and have bascially dropped out from my university course(also as a result of the pain i was in), and am constantly having doubts about being able to continue :(
  7. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Guava. I also have crackling and popping noises in my neck. I really noticed them in a Tai Chi class when we were doing joint mobility exercises. I asked my physical therapist once about it because I wasn't sure if I should continue exercises when I heard them and she said yes. I am having trouble remembering her explanation but I decided not to draw my attention to them so much and I haven't really noticed them lately. But I am sure after posting this, I will!
  8. AngK

    AngK Peer Supporter

    All of my joints pop frequently throughout the day (toes, ankles, knees, hips, spine, neck, etc). I also have the crunchy Rice Krispies sound in my neck (when I roll it back & then side to side), and also in my shoulders. I was told by by both a doctor & a PT that the popping is just air (I think) and the crunching is probably ligaments. I have no pain with either of these. The doctor said that any relief I may feel was psychological. Admittedly, the cracking has become a ritual for me. So I do agree it may be quite psychological. I find that I crack & pop more the looser I am.
  9. Dr James Alexander

    Dr James Alexander TMS author and psychologist

    Guava- in the absence of demonstrable physical causes which could explain the pain, i'd be pursuing the TMS line. Sounds like you are also quite stressed (perhaps by life in general, but also by the pain)- in which case doing some regular relaxation exercises/soothing guided imagery/meditation would make a lot of sense. The cracking/popping is usually totally benign, but for you it is associated mentally with the pain, so a classically conditioned fear response can be created re the sounds/sensations. May also be worth seeking some good psychotherapeutic help re general life stressors (and/or anybackground trauma experiences)- and keep trying to train yourself to think psychologically about the pain (in the absence of viable physical issues). Good luck with it.
    trypp likes this.
  10. James59

    James59 Well known member

    Much of my pain and stiffness is in my neck. Often it feels like it's gonna explode. I don't get popping, but on those occasions when the tension is relieved somewhat I get a crackling sensation. A physical therapist once told me that is normal when tense muscles start to relax.
  11. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Oh gosh, when I saw the title of this thread, I thought I'd respond briefly. My neck makes a really noticeable grinding sound when I turn my head in any direction. It's really only audible to myself, but I certainly hear it when I turn my attention and focus on it. And I can make my neck crack really, really loud. So loud that my wife used to freak out. :) Before I knew about TMS, my neck hurt a lot, and today, it rarely does. I do get some pain, but it does go away pretty quickly (within a day or two). Years ago, I went to a chiro who X-Rayed my neck. He showed me all the bony spurs in there and after that I held the mistaken belief that I'd be in pain forever unless I kept coming in for regular neck crackin'. I'm so glad that I don't need that any more.
  12. trypp

    trypp Peer Supporter

    Hi Guava, I thought some words from Dr. Sarno might help. Here's what he has to say about sounds from the spine in Healing Back Pain:
    Strange sounds or feelings from your body have an uncanny ability to get underneath one's skin. When I hear a pop like that, it really revs up my anxiety. I mean, the sound itself doesn't directly create pain. But it freaks me out to hear it. It's subtle, but it's almost like I'm afraid that something deeply scary might be going on in my body and that I can't trust it. I get a faint feeling of dread.

    Does this happen for you? If so, this is what you want to focus on. Think psychological. Try using some of the techniques in Stock Trader's recent post:

    Remember the purpose of all TMS symptoms is, 100%, to keep you focused on your body. So it will be the symptoms that most scare you that your TMS will select to distract you with. The key is to recognize that you are 100% fine. You've had many scans and I presume your doctors aren't worried, or you would have brought that up. Remember what Dr. Sarno says: "If the purpose of the pain is to make one focus on the body, and through these lectures the patient can be convinced to ignore the bodily symptoms and think about psychological things instead, haven’t we made the pain syndrome useless?"

    That's what it wants. It wants you to concentrate on it.

    It sounds like you are doing something called catastrophization. It is a well studied behavior, and it is exactly what your TMS wants. It wants to suck you back into the fear cycle. It wants to tie you up in knots. Once the fear reaction is triggered and your amygdala has been primed, it will be almost impossible to keep your focus off of your body. That's what your TMS wants.

    Just remember, however, that you absolutely can do this. You are 21 years old and perfectly healthy. You have inner reserves of strength that you haven't begun to tap. It may take time, but you can do it. If what I'm saying rings true at all for you, you should get Hope and Help For Your Nerves by Claire Weekes. It will help you keep yourself going and catch yourself when you begin to worry. It's classic book and cheap, and it has helped many others overcome their anxiety.

    Let us know how you do.
  13. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I can remember a couple years ago when I was really "hurtin'" that when I got up in the morning and pulled my pants on over my legs I'd hear a click in the left hip/lower lumbar region. This was the area where I was experiencing TMS pain. It was strange how if the click was loud, then I would hurt more that day than if the click was quieter. It seemed like the click was a trigger I associated with hurting that day. Now, two years later, although I still hear a slight click when I pull on my right pants leg and weight my left side, it doesn't mean that my TMS pain is going to be worse that day. In fact, I no longer pay attention to the clicking and the pain cycle it appeared to initiate.

    It could be that my hip and back were less stable because of lack of oxygen and therefore more prone to clicking BITD, but am not really sure. Maybe I associated the click with the onset of TMS pain and everytime I heard it I was programmed to have a "bad day"? Not really sure how much the onset of my TMS symptoms had to do with psychological conditioning and how much had to do with instability due to low oxygen levels in the muscles, tendons and nerves in the lower lumbar region on my left side. A little of both?
  14. determined07

    determined07 Newcomer

  15. determined07

    determined07 Newcomer

    Hi, i am new here and have had more relief when i am active. I am always so obsessed with trying to relieve my tension by cracking my neck and my ribs and shoulder blade. I feel like its all i want to do. Im completely obsessed with it. Its better when im working and doing a lot of deep breathing. When i stand without a task or sit i just wanna keep cracking the soreness. Its so frustrating because its only making it worse. Often my back cracks just from me taking a deep breath and thats actually where my pain began. I coughed so hard once that i had incredible pain and it hasnt gone away since. Clicking in and out of my ribs has been a complete obsession and then my neck started about a year ago when a doctor attributed my rib and shoulder blade pain to my neck. Im afraid to have my arm up because it hurts my neck and im afraid to put it down because it presses against my ribs. I have no peace when im not busy. So that brings me to another point, how can i get better from activity when it is resting that seems to preoccupy my mind the most?

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