Q. I hear a crunching noise when I turn my neck. Is this bad? Should I have it checked?
A. Popping sounds can sometimes be heard when a muscle or tendon slides over a bony bump. The sound you hear may also be the gliding of joints as you turn your neck. Articular cartilage forms a smooth covering over the surface of healthy joints. If your joint has been injured or becomes inflamed, the surface may thicken, creating a rubbing sound as you move. A courser grinding or crunching may indicate more advanced changes in the surfaces of one or more joints. Such changes can be caused by osteoarthritis (OA). OA can happen from normal wear and tear, especially when there has been a change in the alignment of your joint. Joint alignment can be changed following an injury, 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.