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Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Arthritis and Rheumatism
Could an Car Accident Cause Crepitus in the Neck?
I am 47 year-old female. I was the victim of a rear-end accident 3 months ago. I immediately saw an emergency room physician, but one month after the accident I saw an orthopedist because my pain had not gone away. He said I had little arthritis I had in my neck. I told him I didn`t realize I had any, as I never had neck pain before. Now I have a lot of noise when I move my neck, and when I commented on it to the orthopedist last week (after 6 weeks of physical therapy), the orthopedist said the noise and grating sensation are unrelated to the accident. He thinks I`m only noticing the noise because I`ve been focused on my neck since the accident. I`m very certain I never had this noise before the accident. How likely is it that the accident had nothing to do with this noise? I`m finding it very disconcerting and am worried it will get worse or develop in to a more painful condition.
Crepitus is the crackling noise that occurs when two surfaces rub together. It may occur when bone moves against bone or cartilage. Popping or cracking noises from a joint or joint region may occur if the surface tension of synovial fluid is overcome (think of "cracking" your knuckles) or if ligamentous "snapping." Crepitus from a joint may suggest an arthritis process. Alternative noises may not necessarily suggest progressive joint damage. For instance, there is no definitive evidence that "cracking" knuckles leads to a quicker onset of osteoarthritis.
This forum is unable to provide an opinion as to whether or not your crepitus is related to your accident.
Raymond Hong, MD, MBA, FACR
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University