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Arthritis and Rheumatism

NECK PAIN ,STIFFNESS AND CRACKING OF NECK

10/06/1998

Question:

my neck is stiff and i am cracking it all the time. it is painfull and seems to run down my back. what could be wrong?

Answer:

There are many causes of neck stiffness and pain. These include inflammation or degeneration of the joints in the neck, inflammation or degeneration of the tendons of the neck, muscle spasms in the neck, and pressure on a nerve in the neck. Each of these problems can, in turn, have several different causes, that can range from aging or having to hold your neck in one position for a long time (driving, using a computer, etc) to more serious problems. Because there are so many different causes and potential treatments, I suggest that if this problem has been bothering you, you see your family physician, a rheumatologist, or an orthopedist for a more complete history, a physical examination, and possibly some x-rays.

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Response by:

Larry   Houk, MD Larry Houk, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine and Rheumatology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati