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"Cracking" neck = awful headache
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"Cracking" neck = awful headache

Sometimes I get an urge to "crack" my neck, by moving it back and forward and side to side.  After I move it to the side far enough, it makes a popping sound and I feel relief for a while, but then hours later I will start to get a headache that gets worse and worse until I just have to shut down and try to sleep. It's too painful to do anything.  The last time it happened, it was a throbbing pain on only the right side of my head, especially behind my eye.  Obviously if something hurts, I should refrain from doing it, but the disconnect between the action and the result means I don't think of it sometimes.  Is this normal?  What causes it?
Tags: Headache, Neck
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14 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar f tn
Hello Dear,
You should consult a neurologist and get  MRI done as there could be several causes of your pain like,.migraine,degenerative spine changes,neuropathy,nerve compression etc.You should go for a evaluation and get the diagnosis confirmed.Neck exercises will help you.
Best

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Avatar f tn
Hi,

Cracking of neck helps relieve tension and pressure, therefore many people do it. But if you do it too hard you can actually end up injuring your neck.
Since cracking is giving you bad headaches it means you are not doing it right. I would advise you to stop doing it completely. As suggested you can do some neck exercises instead.
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Avatar f tn
I have the EXACT same problem!  Have been diagnosed with migraines but the correlation of cracking my neck then having a wretched headache (with migraine attributes--which yours sounds like as well--bilateral/suborbital pain) is just too odd AND Yet occurs too regularly to be coincidence!!!  Have you found a solution and/or come across any medical literature that explains a link btw the two?
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Avatar dr f tn
Hi,
How are you? Pain at the back of head or neck  that intensifies on movement may be caused by inflammation of the blood vessels of the head or bony changes in the structures of the neck. The cause of pain is unknown. Over-the-counter pain medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs or  muscle relaxants may help provide relief. Try to avoid the trigger. If it persists, have this evaluated by your doctor for proper management. Take care and regards.
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Avatar m tn
I would consult a doctor as well first get a full x-ray and a MRI. I have the same problem with my headaches but it was due to a old neck/spine injury I had when i was 17 but surgery will fix it but 50/50 chance i could be paralyzed from it. My best solution is taking a hot shower and let the water hit your neck for about 5 minutes then crack it. Once your done with that the headache should go away or a hot pad on the back of your neck for about 30 minutes and don't crack your neck then the headache should go away.
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Avatar f tn
I have the same popping, headache,vomiting. Unbearable pain! I have had neck surgery for another issue along with many steroid shots. All has helped to lessen the intensity. Still around my menstral cycle it is at it worst. What is going on in there and is there anyway to head it off before it starts. I take sumatriptan, it helps but after its already started.
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Avatar m tn
Really sounds like migraine in your case.
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Avatar f tn
When I lay down at night my neck unintentionally cracks and the next day I have a migraine, why does this happen
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Avatar f tn
I have the same exact issue. I know that I shouldn't pop my neck but I can't seem to not do it. A while later, I will come down with a migraine. I have been diagnosed with cluster headaches and have been prescribed sumatriptan. Cluster headaches are migraines that usually last for a short period of time, and for me is always on the right temple. The pill works wonders. I only take half the pill and that seems to do the trick every time. If I take the whole pill I will have really bad body aches so I prefer to only take half. Here recently I have been waking up around the same time every night (3am) with a headache that gives a extremely sharp pain in the opposite side of my cluster headache but I can't figure out what is causing them. I eventually fall to sleep and wake up with the right side of my head feeling sore. If anyone has experienced these before please let me know if there is anything I can do to stop these. For the original post, try getting sumatriptan or Treximet. This has helped me out so much. I couldn't think about living without them lol.
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Avatar f tn
I have the same issue. I pop my neck because if I don't, I will get a tension headache (which is awful) but here recently I've noticed when I pop my neck I almost instantly get a deep pain in the right side of my head. Mine is in the temple region and moves down my neck.
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Avatar f tn
I have the same issue. I pop my neck because if I don't, I will get a tension headache (which is awful) but here recently I've noticed when I pop my neck I almost instantly get a deep pain in the right side of my head. Mine is in the temple region and moves down my neck.
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Avatar m tn
I was diagnosed by a Neurologist with chronic daily migraines. I have a headache every day which does not go away (located behind and around my right eye and right temple) When it goes Migraine it goes from the base of my neck/skull and circles my head. I also get the urge to crack my neck and try not to because a headache will follow. I was prescribed several different migraine meds that did not work. Currently I take some nerve suppresant type meds but  gabapenten helps the most, especially when I have a migraine, I take it with excedrine. I still have daily headaches but at least have a way to minimize them. If you haven't seen a Neurologist, I would suggest it, get an MRI / MRA and see what they recommend. Hope this helps :)
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Avatar m tn
i have the same thing.  I crack my neck but then later get a migraine.  I visited a chiropractor about 4 years ago now for two years I was in treatment for my back.  I also let him know that i had migraines and he mentioned that it was coming from my neck area. So I began crakcing my own neck and now, I feel like that was the wrong thing to do. Have had some stress at home at the moment.  But really I've had migraines since 1998.  

Yesterday I ended up putting a washcloth around my neck and an ice pack.  Since I get the ache on the side of my neck and it goes up to the side of my head at times.   if I sleep on my back it's better.  

GOd these neck aches  with migraines suck.  I hope to feel better one of these days.  

Take tylenol for these pains at the moment.  
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Avatar m tn
Thank you for sharing! I've got the same that you described... Had for 3 weeks in a row painful headaches always around the same hour... 2AM in my case and it wouldn't matter if I was already sleeping or not... Currently I'm making a list of what can trigger them and found (so far) that hot temperatures (definitely), lack of sleep and chocolate may trigger them... Also need a hot shower at the back of my neck when in pain and my warning sign is a tear behind my eye...  
Being trying sumatriptan although I just can't have them every single day since they are expensive! I must make them stop!
I must say that I feel the need to crack my neck several times a day and can't just stop doing it... It really helps!
Any other advice?
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