The release of gas bubbles in the joints of the neck causes a cracking noise with neck movement, according to sports medicine specialist Dr. Christopher J. Visco when interviewed by The New York Times. Unless other symptoms are present, the cracking noise is not a concern, states Harvard Health Publications.
If the cracking noise occurs along with neck pain and/or weakness or numbness of the arm, it may signify the presence of arthritis or disc disease, notes Harvard Health Publications. Cervical spondylosis, also called osteoarthritis of the neck or cervical osteoarthritis, may cause the cracking noise in the neck, according to Everyday Health. The development of bony spurs and issues with the ligaments and discs in the neck may exacerbate the problem.