Neck- related tics

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If there is one tic that I frequently worry about, it’s moving my neck with force to make a ‘popping’ sound.

This particular tic involves moving the neck in a way that produces a clicking sound. This is often done with force to produce the noise, and comes with a risk of injury and permanent damage.

I wanted to blog about this particular tic as it can be a scary one for me. Many people with tic disorders experience this tic, sometimes leading to injury.

Featured image for neck cracking tics

The moment I learned to ‘pop’ my neck, I couldn’t stop

I can crack many body parts. Fingers, elbows, knees, toes… basically if it is crack-able, I can do it. It is almost an addiction at this point, and often get a sensory urge to do so.

Sometimes the cracking leads to pain. There have been occasions when I have cracked my neck and felt a shock run down my left arm. I know this isn’t healthy, but I don’t get much sympathy from Tourette’s.

If anything, it usually makes the tics harder to ignore.

I often neck neck aches, that I blame on these tics. I end up moving my neck and trying to click it to relieve stress, which sometime works.

This also feels like a never ending cycle of neck tics causing neck pain, causing neck tics.

Some people have done damage with neck tics

There was a story going around of a 28 year-old American man that suffered a stroke after stretching a sore neck.

One that led WebMD to run this article linking neck cracking and strokes.

‘In general, you can’t generate enough force or movement on your own to cause a tear of the blood vessel, which ultimately is what probably causes the stroke’

These were the words of Doojin Kim, MD, a co-medical director talking about the incident.

He went on to say that:

‘in some, their genetics may make their blood vessels a little more fragile or their connective tissue a little more pliable. So, in general, I recommend patients don’t do it.’

This is easier said than done for those of us with a tic disorder. And often, knowing what we shouldn’t do only gives Tourette Syndrome a better idea of how to function.

This post isn’t to cause concern. The risk of injury is very slim for most people, and any injuries would most likely be of less concern.

However, if these tics are a problem, it is best to get specialist advice and let them know about this specific tic.

Those of us with tic disorders do these movements regularly

There is no doubt that repetitive movements can cause lasting damage. And this is why talking openly about motor tics is so important.

I’m lucky my neck tics aren’t forceful. They’re more of a slow movement until I hear a ‘crack’.

But that hasn’t stopped this weird tingle down my left arm from time to time, and I have had these for years.

Every time I do it I get anxiety. Will it crack? Will I get the tingle or not? It isn’t fun, and I am actively trying to do another tic instead.

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