Hello! I am an 18 year old female, and I've had pretty serious neck pain for the past year or so. Starting at about age 12, I began to crack my neck a LOT. It freaked my mom out and she tried to take me to all these specialists, but nobody understood that I felt like I had to crack my neck all the time. It wasn't exactly in pain, but there was a serious discomfort that only cracking my neck could help. I can crack it pretty easily, just by turning or tilting my head, and sometimes if that doesn't work I will turn my head with my hands and force my neck to crack. Anyways, starting about a year ago, I started experiencing pain in my neck along the back right where it sticks out (I guess they're tendons? I have no idea). Cracking my neck would relieve that pain. However, it gradually got worse, and now it is so bad that cracking my neck usually worsens the pain, although I still try it a lot. I'm afraid I've done something to screw up my neck, but no doctors can help me, all they ever do is prescribe pain medication. I'm wondering if anyone on here relates to what I mean when I say that I feel like I HAVE to crack my neck, because nobody has ever understood that before.
Additionally, I've also discovered over the past few months that I have TMJ issues (popping and inflammation of the jaw) caused by clenching my teeth in my sleep. It gets so bad that it gives me severe headaches that go from my right jaw all the way up to my temple and all the way down to my neck, right at the same spot that has always been hurting. I'm wondering if my neck pain has always been caused by the clenching, and now things are just starting to get worse. Or if the clenching and TMJ problems are separate, but cause the neck pain to get worse. I can handle the pain, but I am just really worried I am destroying my neck by not doing anything to fix this, so if anyone has any idea I would appreciate it SO much.