Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.
Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.
Neck cracking in isolation without pain is typically of little significance. Sometimes it signifies underlying arthritis. Physical therapy for neck discomfort due to arthritis can sometimes be helpful for neck arthritis, but should be undertaken only after prescription by a physician.
Inflammation or arthritis of the temporo-mandiublar joint, commonly called the TMJ, can sometimes occur due to bruxism, biting down at night or during the day, and other stresses to the joint. This is best diagnosed/managed by an orthodontist or an ENT, and treatment includes braces and other dental fixtures and sometimes muscle relaxants, depending on the exact cause. A link between the neck and TMJ is difficult to definitively establish medically, but in lay terms, if there is both neck tension (due to tensing up the neck in various postures etc) and tension in the jaw (biting down a lot, bruxism) then it is conceivable that both would be causing symptoms. Discussion of your symptoms with your primary doctor is recommended, and an appropriate physical therapy, exercise program, or relaxation techniques may be indicated, though in some cases temporary use of muscle relaxants and/or a mouth guard may be necessary when TMJ is moderate or severe.
Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
Hello. My neck is fused from 4th - 7th verts. I just have bilateral tmj replacement surgery utilizing Christensen's implants. I am not a doctor, but a patient with years and years of pain experience and I very much believe your neck issues may be related to your tmj issues. In fact, because tmj disorders are widely neglected, being mostly viewed as dental rather than medical conditions which are therby often (as in my case) further neglected, it would not surprise me at all to learn that your tmj problems may be causing your neck problems. Please consult an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, right away, if you continue to feel increasing pain. That's definitely my advice. For certain, you don't want to end up in a worse condition. Also, the sad news is... Good Luck finding insurance to cover any kind of tmj treatment or surgery without putting up a fight. It's quite the widespread healthcare (of lack of) dilemma, truly. Best Wishes. Jill J.,