About a week ago I was driving my kids to school. As I was getting ready to make the left to get out of our neighborhood,look right then left. When I moved from right to left my neck made a loud cracking sound. The crack didn’t hurt but boy was it loud. Then later that day my neck felt like it needed to be popped again. This told me that I've been slacking on my neck exercises.
My work and personal life can get very stressful at times. The kids will have multiple school projects, which of course happen the same time my work picks ups. It's hard to maintain ideal posture while meeting deadlines, let alone make the time to exercise and stretch daily.
If you are wondering why I care about my neck cracking occasionally. I know that even if the crack or pop doesn’t hurt it’s telling me that my neck is not stable. If my neck just cracked once then I wouldn't be worried. However, the fact that I was getting the sense that my neck needed to be cracked several times in one day tells me my neck strength is not good.
Over time if your neck is not strong it will develop arthritis or you will develop a herniated disc. The crack is simply the sound of your neck bone adjusting itself back into place, so the sound is not “bad”. But it tells you one of your neck muscles is pulling that bone out of place several times throughout the day. That constant shifting is what causes the wear and tear on your neck.
I got an interesting call from a nice woman named Lisa. Lisa is in her early 40s and I got permission to share her story. She called me after seeing one of my ads because she was worried about her shoulder. She just couldn’t move it normally. The straw that broke the camel's back was when her husband tossed a water bottle to her and she just couldn’t get her arm to lift high enough or fast enough to catch the bottle. She was so embarrassed when the bottle hit her, not to mention a little hurt.
Over the phone Lisa told me she had been dealing with her arm just not moving for months assuming eventually it would just work itself out. But after the water bottle incident she realized the wait and see approach wasn’t working. I told Lisa it was good she could move her arm and that it didn’t hurt but without seeing her I could tell her much else. I really had to move her arm and see how her joint felt before I could give her much information.
Hi Dr. Molly
I have a question about my shoulder. I lift weights a few times a week. Recently, I haven’t been able to lift my right shoulder as high as my left shoulder. I wouldn’t say it hurts but it doesn’t feel normal. Google tells me I have a shoulder impingement. Will this heal on its own? I don't remember doing anything to hurt my shoulder, I just don’t want it to get worse.
Why do I feel a constant need to pop my neck?
The short answer is that you have a stability issue. A woman called me concerned about a constant need to pop her neck. She'd been doing it for years, even though EVERYONE told her it was bad ;). She never worried about it before because after the pop she always felt better. However, a few days before our phone call she popped her neck then suddenly felt a sharp pain shoot down her neck into her shoulder. Then she wasn't able to move her neck to the right without severe pain.
Most people that come to see me are looking for answers about a pain that is stopping them from their favorite activities. Many people are putting off seeing a Physical Therapist or another medical professional because they are afraid of being told they will need a surgery, or they will simply be given medication then dismissed, or they will be told the pain is just from being old and nothing can resolve the discomfort.
We have all woken up with a stiffness neck. You know that moment when you lift your head to a sudden sharp pain in your neck that shoots up to your head and down between your shoulders every time you turn you head. You dread the next day or two because you know it's going to be a struggle driving, sitting at your computer, or workout. Check out the video below. Dr. Molly demonstrates a home remedy and how to stop this pain quickly.
I woke up yesterday and I could feel the pain in my neck even while I was still laying on my pillow. It felt like I passed out and didn't move all night long. I haven't been about to look to the right in 2 days now. Can you help me?
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald