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Crackling noise at the base of my skull is getting more frequent, more ...
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Crackling noise at the base of my skull is getting more frequent, more severe.

I'm not even sure where to post this question: Ortho, Neuro...  For several years I can remember experiencing an occasional crackling sound at the base of my skull right where the head pivots at the back of my neck.  It was annoying at first - coming and going every so often.  I figured it to be stressed muscles causing this strange sound - yet I always wondering.  It sounds like small pieces of bone grinding together - not harshly to the point of pain - just annoyance and bewilderment.  

There were times when it would come on and I couldn't get my mind off of it.  The sound is really like the way Rice Krispies sound.  I would notice most often at night.  Any slight movement at all:  snap, crackle, pop.  Lately, it's constant.  I woke up this morning - it's there.  All day long, all night long.  It can be dehabilitating in that it's so distracting.  I'm constantly massaging that area with my fingers, putting slight pressure with my fingers in that area and leaning my head back seems to help.  

I'm beginning to feel a bit of fear because it's constant now.  I live in Durham, NC and requested an appointment with a Duke family doctor on their website last night.  I don't know if I need at chiropractor or a CT scan!  Confused.  My stats:  37-year-old, mom of 3, healthy blood pressure, non-smoker, a bit over-weight (5' 5", 160lbs), active, no meds.  I do have desk-worker syndrome:  stressed neck and shoulders fairly often.  No head trauma history.  My mother has history of "mini-strokes" starting in her early 50's.  Mom, Dad, brother all have high BP and on meds.  Brother has history of blood clots in lungs, on meds for that.  Aunt had brain aneurysm that was operated on rather unsuccessfully.  Not sure if these pieces can be put together for me, but it's all I have.
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1021897_tn?1251677712
Sounds like you need to see an Orthopedic specialist.  The sound is most likely exactly what you think, bone on bone.  Have you had any major accidents over the years that caused you whiplash or anything like that?  Over the years the damage takes it's toll.  I had two people rear end me when I was 16, both causing whiplash and no I didn't but should have sued.  Today, I am 50 and my neck is deteriorating and I have Cervical Stenosis terribly.  Whenever I move my head, my neck also sounds like a loud rice crispies and grinding noises.  I get steriod injections to deal with the pain and it reduces the inflammation which gives me a repreive from the grinding for a few weeks.  I need surgery to replace 3 disk that also are hitting my nerves and causing shoulder pain and finger and sometimes arm numbness or tingling.  I'm from NC originally and used to live in Durham.  I'm from W-S.  Take care and good Luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am adding your post to watch list.  I am anxious to see if you come up with an answer.....other than wear & tear, osteoarthritis, etc.  I have had the same symptoms for twenty five years.  I will go away for a couple of years or days or hours, but it always comes back sometime.  I have had MRI's CT's and plain jane x-rays that show no abnormality.  I have normal bone scans (for osteoporosis) as well.  Very annoying.  Do you have any autoimmune problems?  I have SLE with overlapping Sjogren's,...also overlapping symptoms, signs, and lab results for systemic sclerosis.  I am thinking that if it were very serious I would be dead by now!  Good luck.  Fran  
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Avatar_n_tn
I wonder about this question as well as I have started to hear these sounds as well. They are exactly as described in the first messages. My best guess is that is Arthritis or Osteo-Arthritis in the joint between the skull and the column.
One indication is that anti inflamation (inflammation) chemicals (drugs or natural) seem to help. I also notice that when walking with a correct posture the noise seems to diminish.

Regards
Alex

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1210503_tn?1266035686
I also experienced the exact same thing and the rice crisoies popping and cracking is the only way i could explain it to my physician.I was diagnoised with Diginitrive Disc Disease(DDD,or cervical arthritis)and Spondylosis Cervical.Good luck! May i ask if you have insurance?Because while experiencing these sounds then came aches i did not have insurance and was told it was nothing and given pain meds. which i did not want,i married appx 1 year later and had good insurance then i was sent for x-rays,an MRI..Needless to say i switched Doctors.
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Avatar_m_tn
First of all, I hope you are thriving. I'm 70 years old and I have something similar - I've had a cervical disc fusion in the past and then a lumbar fusion of 2 discs 3 years ago. Recently, while recovering from knee replacement (arthritis) I fell down a couple of steps while using crutches. I hit my head and damaged (they said "broke") my neck. The damage was slight but I have worn a collar since and will for another 2 weeks. This was over a month ago and I am doing well - however in the last 2 weeks I have begun having those sounds - only mine sounds like loud knuckle cracking. It's at the back of my skull - just below my occipital ridge. My doctor says it's very common. It's extremely alarming though. I've been very active all my life and skied a lot, I wonder if it's just wear and tear?
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