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cracking/pain/noise @ base of skull with movement of head

I have a history of migraines over/behind right eye, which came on just over 2 yrs ago, as well as headaches all my life.  MRIa negative.  Migraines controlled w/ prophylactic (daily) meds and then I take meds for breakthrough migraines when needed.  But migraines have gotten worse lately, I think maybe due to stress??  I can pretty much count on several a month...and they wipe me out. I get tired and cloudy in my thinking.  And with the last one, my meds didn't help at all and I needed to go to the ER for a toradol injection.  It kind of frightens me that the migraines are this much out of control at this point.  Otherwise I am normally a pretty healthy person, except I'm not exercising as I was due to the colder weather.  

Just two weeks ago I noticed this crackling sound- seems to be coming from the vertebrae at the base of my skull and occurs pretty much with any movement, but seems most associated with the movement of the right side of my neck/head or with the use of those muscles.  It is somewhat uncomfortable and tense, and even ibuprofen doesn't seem to help.  I've been using a warm pack when I remember.  

I just finally googled the problem now, and found your forum.  I'm curious as to what the problem could be.  Haven't talked to an MD about it yet as I'm in the middle of insurance changes...and thought the problem would resolve itself. Now I'm beginning to wonder!  Will watch this forum...any suggestions or ideas would be appreciated.  Thanks!  
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1093617 tn?1279302002
Thank you for your question. Although without being able to examine you I can not offer you the specific advice on diagnosis and treatment that you need, but I would try to provide you some relevant information about your health concern.

It is called” tinnitus” when you hear a ringing or buzzing sound that no one hears. It is mainly heard in ears but sometimes few persons feel that it is coming from head. Common reasons of tinnitus could be any inner ear disorder due to extreme noise or meniere’s disease, large ear wax, trauma, and due to some medications. If you are hearing continuous ringing noise, please arrange an appointment with an ENT specialist right away who will evaluate the possibilities here and can provide you further treatment. Hope this information proves helpful to you.

Take Care & Regards!!!

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Avatar universal
MRI of the brain?  No MRI of the cervical spine?
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hmm...not sure that cspine was included in MRI, though I would think it would have been.  I should probably get copies of records.  MRI was done about 2 1/2 yrs back when migraines started, not w/ this recent onset of 'neck' or 'base of skull' noise.  The crackling sensation and noise that I feel and hear is not tinnitus.  I have experienced that before and am familiar with it.  It is not constant, and it is initiating from somewhere other than my ears :)   I am an experienced critical care nurse and have some understanding of anatomy and physiology.  

Beginning to wonder, actually, if it might be arthritic in nature, except that it really isn't awfully painful, just a bit uncomfortable at times.  And here's the newest weirdest development, lol.  I think I might be developing shingles on my right chest/back side, a few inches below my axillary (armpit) region.  I've been having some sensitivity and shooting pain- localized and at the surface/skin area- for 2 days...waiting to see if the tell-tale rash forms. No, not cardiac...it is just localized and at the surface :)  

Nutty!  I'm beginning to feel like a hypochondriac :-P   Generally I'm very very healthy!!!  But I have been under a great deal of stress for the last 9 months or so.  Might be contributing to it all.

The only other thing I can think of that's strange about my health is that I had a case of mononucleosis two years ago which was preceded just a month or two earlier by a case of viral vertigo.  The vertigo lasted about a week...I couldn't do much but walk around and hang onto counters and walls.  ick!!

Thanks for your question :)

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Avatar universal
Yes, I can relate to feeling like a hypochondriac too.  I was a very healthy person until last August.  That is when my problems started; it was after a period of heavy stress.  I got through the stress and then the next thing I know I am sick.  They are still trying to figure me out.  I am a nurse as well.  It is so fun on the other side of the fence, NOT.  

Anyways, sorry, talking about myself.  I would get copies of the MRI you had.  It has been a while so I would probably look into getting another MRI of the brain/head with contrast plus an MRI of the cervical spine.  Lastly, Neuro and/or Ortho should be consulted.  Hopefully, your insurance issues are sorted soon.  It doesn't sound like tinnitus to me either.  

I hope you don't have shingles too.  

Keep us posted.
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hi my name is venkatesh. i a doing a project work on tracking the tumour in brain tissue. i want to know about the brain movement during the brain surgery (in number). and also before and after the deformation of the tumour.
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Hey Nancy,
Hope you've come to some resolving conclusion to your issue. I am experiencing that same crackling sound  at the base of my skull with movement of my neck.  I too in the medical field and experiencing some stress as well as some sinus/ear problems and tingling or crawling sensation in posterior neck. Migraines is also a problem, thinking this is just hormonal. Please let me know if you have resolved this issue since 2010 and what the problem was.  
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Avatar universal
I Have Went To A Dr.that Has Taken Multiple mri.s To FINA I Had 3 Hurniated Discs At c456...I Explained I Had A Disturbing crackling noise with simply turning head either direction. .at base of skull..that when began was simply an annoying noise that escalated to a pain going threw side of head along with nauseous feeling. .he told me that by installing an titanium plate to secure 3 sets of discs and fusing them ..it should help with that..3 to 4 months to come back for another mri to see if plate and titanium screws are healing in tact...so i followed dirrections. ..went back with more pain ..and with new mri now having 2 additional hurniated disc above and below ones done..and still have same crackling noise at base of skull.So being i can't go threw that again. I can't even move along to go and have 3 hurniated disc on lower back done because of trust issues ..and not looking to be wheeling myself around..hljustvto be an insurance project. .i hope no one goes through this..and dear god don't go to a chyropractor. .that's something that will in fact lead to further issues..if you have already some torn issues..
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Avatar universal
Did you ever get to the bottom of this? I have a similar situation as I have had the cracking at the base of my skull, seems to originate from the right more than the left. This has been going on for many months now. Cervical spine MRI show minimal bulging discs and mild arthritis. Been to several Docs...no real answer yet...on Prednisone and Neurontin with mild relief if any. The cracking seems to shoot up my skull and is actually worse when I sleep as I lift my head from the pillow to turn it will crack and wake me up.
Hoping someone can shed some light.
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Can O ask of you are any further forward. I have been suffering from the same symptoms for approx 1 year. I don't notice it so much in a noisy environment but when driving, sitting or lying in bed I'm very aware of my neck crackling every time I move my head. Went to the doctor and he said that I would just need to live with it, just wear and tear of the bones. I think possible arthritis. No treatment!  
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