Osteoarthritis of the upper spine known as cervical spondylosis includes symptoms like neck popping and neck pain. This degenerative disease is usually seen in those above the age of fifty or those who have been involved in doing some kind of strenuous physical activity for many years as a part of their work life. Neck popping may also develop when the cartilage between the vertebrae starts to degenerate and the spaces between the vertebrae narrow due to aging.
Bony outgrowth called osteophytes may form on the vertebrae restricting movements of the head and causing stiffness. As a result the movements of the neck are restricted as even a slight movement causes a creaking popping neck sensation.
When you sleep in an awkward position, the twisting of the head causes it to be held in an abnormal position leading to pain in the neck. This pain is caused by the spasms in the neck muscles. Take care to see that your pillow supports your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine. An overstuffed pillow or too many pillows may push your head far too forward; a pillow that is too limp or flimsy may tip your head back. So, it is always better to choose a good pillow to prevent neck popping.
Most people spend six to eight hours in bed every day. Therefore appropriate support from a good pillow is required to ensure good neck support and to provide adequate rest to the muscles in the neck. When you are asleep try to avoid lying on your front with the neck twisted to one side. All these steps can go a long way in preventing neck popping.
When you make sudden movements of your head the bone presses against the nerves in the neck causing pain and neck popping. Medical practitioners may arrange special tests to assess the nature of the degeneration and start treatment using pain killers, non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs and heat packs to relieve pain.
A good sitting posture is very important to ensure the health of your neck and to avoid neck popping if you have to sit for long hours at a desk or in the front of a computer during working hours. You can also reduce the incidence of neck popping if you strengthen the muscles of your neck by doing some neck stretches, shoulder rolls, neck rolls etc. to loosen up your upper spine.