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Neck or knuckle popping when moving head, no pain but discomfort.

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 9039 Questions
It started around Christmas, or that is when I noticed it and ever since, it bothers me. When I look to the left (even the slightest movement) and turn my head back to the right, it sounds like you would pop your neck or knuckles. It pops/clicks about 4 times. If I turn back to the left, it does it only like one time. Some days its louder than others. especially if i look down and turn my head.
It sounds like it comes from my left side and I can't pin point if it is on the left side closer towards my head, or in the middle of my neck.
There is no major pain, and it doesn't hurt when it does what it does, but its annoying and I know it can't be good in the long run.
Thank you for your time and input.
Posted Wed, 25 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
The popping or clicking noise in the neck is the gliding of joints as you turn your neck. If your joint has been injured or becomes inflamed, the surface may thicken, creating a rubbing sound as you move. A courser noise may indicate more advanced changes in the surfaces of one or more joints. Such changes can be caused by osteoarthritis (OA) or spondylottic changes.
OA can happen from normal wear and tear or changed joint alignment (due to an injury, or when your muscles are tense or in spasm, or from poor spine postures that have been used over the years). A physical therapy program to help with your posture and muscle balance can improve movement in your neck and may help stop the noise.
Taking supplements like glucosamine sulfate and hyaluronic acid will help in early improvement. You can get these prescribed from your orthopedician.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Neck or knuckle popping when moving head, no pain but discomfort. 46 minutes later
Dr. Tayal,
I want to thank you for the info and have a couple questions. What is this spondylottic changes? I do not have an orthopedician, or a "family doctor." No insurance, and my Dr. I see once a month now is costing me all I have. So with the supplements, could you buy those over the counter as well? or are they totally different, or what would work over the counter. Regarding a physical therapy program, I think that would be a great thing, but it goes back to uninsured and broke. Any at home excersises I could do or web sites I could look into.
Thanks again for the insight, and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you kindly,
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 6 hours later
Thanks for writing again.
Spondylottic changes are age related degenerative changes in the spine. You can decrease the progression of such changes significantly with a physical therapy program.
You can get an idea about the exercises needed at -
WWW.WWWW.WW The supplements are required in severe cases only. These are available over the counter at your nearest pharmacist.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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