Crunchy neck: Anyone had this? Been suffering since... - NRAS


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Crunchy neck


Anyone had this? Been suffering since before lockdown with painful neck, crunching and grinding each time I move my head, consultant arranged X-ray, said, minor wear and tear. Spoke to doctors 3 times, told to take painkillers and was sent link to excercises. Finally got examined by doctor who said neck muscle in spasm, and gave me diazepam for 5 days, which did help, but after a restless night where my neck continues to grind and crunch every time I turn my head, am back to square one and in continuous pain.

14 Replies

I can’t give you medical advice but based on my own personal circumstances... If you can avoid the diazepam... I was given that for my neck shoulder and arm being in spasm and it’s why I fell and have all this knee damage. Naproxen was/is my go to for this along with gentle stretching exercises. Best not to over stretch. For me I think it’s linked to the costochondritis and RA. I think the pred is also helping it all... when they get the ra to start responding and I start dropping all the pain relief my problems may start back up again ... we shall see and I’m a way off that happening.

I have a fair bit of deterioration in my neck caused by OA ...cervical spondylosis...I've had it since my early 30s. Grinding and clicking of my neck are just a feature of my life now. At my last X ray a few years ago, I was told I had the neck of a 70 or 80 year old, I was late 50s at the time 😥

Physio has been a huge help for me, along with NSAIDs, I use diclofenic acid (voltarol) the only NSAID which helps me.

I do the exercises every day and find even missing a few days brings back the pain and restricted movement. Before Covid I used to do the exercises in the heat if the spa and got really good movement with the heat, now I do them under the heat of the shower.

I'm not sure how things are in your area for referrals , but physio is the best option for providing long term management, I personally would stay clear of diazepam.

I can only give you my experience, but the two exercises that help me most are standing straight and upright, try getting your ear to you shoulder without straining or pushing to much. Do this each side. If too sore you can this lying down with your head on a pillow.

Again looking straight ahead and being upright turn your neck as far as it will go the left then the right, without pushing too much or causing too much pain.

I found over a period of several weeks my neck mobility increased and the pain decreased with these very simple exercises. I think I had allowed my neck to become so stiff it was causing it's own problems.

But best get a referral to physio if you can.

Callabag64 in reply to Mmrr

Thank you for your reply, sounds exactly like my symptoms, have RA, OA , cervical spondylitis , osteoporosis. Have been referred, got my 1st physio call last week. Told me to buy a rugby shirt with collar from m and s at £18, told me the fibre content, and told me to put collar up and use it to sleep in. !!!! Also told me just to excercise every other day as opposed to every day, under the shower, and use feather pillow. Waste of time !!!

Mmrr in reply to Callabag64

I also use a specialist neck support pillow, not cheap circa £25-30, couldn't do without it now. IKEA sell them, I'm sure others places do too.

I empathise. I have cervical spondylosis & also have recurring cervical spasm. Crunching & grinding is normal for me, day in day out. Being prescribed amitriptyline & pregabalin has helped but when in spasm nothing really helps, probably because the things that would I already take on a regular basis. When it does spasm heat gives a little relief, I have an electric cape which eases my knotted muscles in my shoulders & I do wear a collar, in bed only though. I find spasms really limits me when driving & I can rely on my mirrors alone which I’m never happy about.

My Rheumy Physio helped ease it somewhat with manipulation but you're limited how many sessions you can have. The exercises she gave me, with a resistance band, also helps. But the greatest relief I had was following a shunt in the car causing whiplash. Insurance paid for 10 weeks of Physio, various treatments, & my neck felt as free as it had before I started with the troubles. It all returned of course but the few weeks of relief was wonderful, I just wish I could afford to go to him regularly!

It might be worth requesting Physio referral, from someone who knows what they’re doing with RD. The one I had was connected to the Rheumatology dept so was used to what she could & shouldn't do for me.

Agree completely that physio can help....but would just add to anyone reading this.....a surgical collar at night may be suitable...but never ever attempt to drive in a collar...your car insurance will immediately become is considered you cannot drive safely wearing a collar.

No, never wear a collar whilst driving, they prohibit movement of your neck, what they're intended to do of course. You should be advised by whoever fits the collar for you but as we know such info is often missed or assumed you're aware.

My neck problems were caused by a whiplash injury that required surgery & prolonged another “don‘t ” is to never devise your own exercise regime from something you read about.

See a physio who has seen recent Xrays of your neck...& odd as some of the advice might sound...I am living proof that it works.

Of course my problems were from an injury....not any sort of RD ...but necks are treat them carefully.

A hands-on physiotherapist would probably be able to help here, they don't manipulate if you ask them not to so you should be OK. I saw one privately for a while and he sorted mine out. Hope you can get it sorted as it really drags you down. x

Have you had any physio......gentle supervised exercises can help with neck problems...but don’t try exercising without professional supervision.

Callabag64 in reply to AgedCrone

Had my first physio appointment by phone last week, not very productive I am afraid. Told me to buy a rugby shirt with collar from m and s at £18 approx, even told me fibre content, and told me to sleep in it with the collar up, Also told me not to excercise my neck every day, maybe every other day, and to do it in the shower. Just head turning to each side. As well as change pillow, which I had already done, to a softer one, feather he said. I was not very happy with the call.

my neck everyday,

AgedCrone in reply to Callabag64

Sounds a sensible physio

Try to get your GP to authorise an X-ray than push for f2f with physio.

No physio worth his salt is going to advise any sort of serious exercise until he can see what he is dealing with.I had an MRI of my neck just after my neck surgery & my Neuro surgeon advised me to make sure I always showed the scan to any medic who was going to treat my neck.

Having had this for 5 years and had physio and osteo and various medicines none of which were particularly successful although amitryptiline has helped me sleep I was referred to pain clinic. Had another course of physio and now have been offered a procedure where nerve endings in neck are to be burned to get rid of the pain.Radio frequency pain management its called. First they do facet joint branch blocks followed two weeks later by facet joint rhizolysis. Will be having this in six weeks so don't know how effective yet. Might be worth asking docs if it might be suitable for you?

I get that, had a neck xray ,just like you wear and tear

I found a memory foam pillow helps and two

please excuse spelling

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