Hi- I got diagnosed with Tmj a couple months ago. I thought I had a ear-ache. I also have ringinging in the ears and my eustachian tubes keep blocking up. I started PT and shes been working on my neck muscles and then I developed crackling in my neck at the base of the skull whenever I'd turn my head and I've never had that before. I asked her what she thinks it is and she didn't know. I've been in PT 3 1/2 weeks now and my neck muscles are a lot looser and my crackling is slowly subsiding. So I think in some way its related to the muscles. My neck also started cracking now and then too the more she worked on my neck. Both are subsiding now-but I am going to have a X-ray of my neck done to make sure its ok. I'm kinda wondering if I hurt my neck without realizing it and that caused my tmj.
OMG, finally someone with the same problem as me. When I read this I actually had to re-check the name of the person who wrote it to make sure it wasn't me who wrote it unconsciously lol. I have this exact same thing, word for word. The only differnce is that my cracking only happens when I turn my head to the left). I hear little cracking in the base of my skull. Little cracks I can only hear. Doesn't hurt at all. I was wondering what this was too. Since I've had it for months know, I decided not to say anything since it doesn't cause any pain whatsoever. Thanks for bringing it up!
I have this cracking sound as well when i turn left. For me, it seems like i can't pull my head back. It gets stuck at a certain point. My neck just won't let my head pull all the way back. My right side feels fine and i can pull my head back all the way without any pain.
This is due to the position of you spine. It is somehow not straight because of the "tmj." Not the other way around. to double check that, you can ask your doctor to take an xray of your spine. It will show that your spine isn't straight. it's actually bended.
Once you fix the joint, the spine will return to its normal position. And your neck problem will go away.
My son's neck cracks quite loud, most of the time. He's been evaluated by an Orthopaedic specialist (x-rays taken) as well as a Chiropractor and does NOT have a misaligned spine. I don't buy that particular theory.
A cracking sound which occurs once as you turn your head but then is not reproducible for a period of time is usually from something called cavitation. When you twist and bend your neck, you stretch the joints. Inside each joint is a liquid called synovial fluid that contains gases like nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide. This liquid exerts a certain amount of pressure against the ligaments around the joint (called the joint capsule). The stretching causes the pressure inside the joint to drop. When the pressure drops, the ligament gets sucked into the joint and a bubble of carbon dioxide forms. The formation of the bubble creates a popping sound as it comes out of the synovial fluid (cavitation) and increases the volume of synovial fluid temporarily (by about 15%). The increase in volume pushes the ligament back into place creating another popping sound (these occur so fast you hear only one sound). You cannot repeat the snap, crackle, pop for about twenty minutes or until the bubble dissolves back into the synovial fluid.
The other reasons for a cracking sound, and these typically occur on a repeated basis, include changes in the shape of the joints and changes in the thickness of ligaments. If your joints have extra bone (which forms in response to a loss of intervertebral disc height), then as you move your head the extra bone can cause a "collision" - one part of the joint bumps into another part and creates a cracking sound. In some cases the ligaments which attach to the joints will become thicker (again due to changes in the disc height). Occasionally, as you move your head, the ligament will slip over the edge of the bone and you may hear a snap or a cracking sound.
Hope this helps!
The Following User Says Thank You to CherylLynn24 For This Useful Post:
As for me, it seems like my head is leaning to my right, and not staying straight. I didn't have this before. Never. i developed this becaue of "tmj." And i saw few cases where it did occur. That is the spine wasn't straight which caused the tilting ofthe head. I'm guessing the tilting of the head cuases the neck sound.
My kid also experienced what you've described..........the tilting of the head to one side. After seeing MANY specialists, it was determined that it was due to a slight case of tortocollis. As the muscles shorten and are constantly in spasm, they pull on the neck and the surrounding muscles. He has since overcome his torticollis problem, his head no longer tilts to one side...........BUT his neck STILL cracks. Muscle problems may/can be responsible for more than one can be lead to believe..........
I also hear these little cracks when I turn my head to the right. Sounds like a bunch of little snap, crackle, pops. And it makes that sound every time I turn to the right! It's not painful or anything. Feels like it's coming from the base of my skull. My neck has been really sore and tense lately and I don't know why. I finally got an x-ray of my neck taken today. So we'll see what the doc says.
I'm not sure if this helps at all, but I've had a problem with the same exact area (the very base of the skull), but not with crackling. Every couple of months I'll have a severe flair up of pain in that area. I finally asked my doctor about it and she said that it can definitely be related to my TMJ. What she said was that the same muscles that are affected by TMJ are connected to the muscles at the base of the skull and that TMJ pressure can cause that corresponding area to swell and for the muscles to misalign and cause severe pain there as well. I took ultram for pain and it helped somewhat.