Originally Posted by abbycats
When I was 4 years old I was thrown from a car in a bad accident and I believe that this is from that.
You're lucky you didn't end up with a broken neck.
Actually, your neck sounds more like my mother's - or what my neck will be in the future if I'm not careful (hence the genetic part). Her neck is more arthritis now that it's progressed, there's a couple of bulging discs, some facet problems, loss of natural curve, and a lot of pinch/compressed nerves. She doesn't really have that great of treatment for her's yet - waiting for her SSDI. Her doctor has recommended that she get a soft collar to help.
As far as the MRI, maybe you could save up and shop around? Different MRI centers will have different prices - one of the members here without insurance did that very thing and apparently got a good deal.
Physical therapy may help but would be pricey. You could try gentle stretching on your own. If you can find someone who could do gentle massage or even ultrasound on your neck, it may help. Other then that try heat and ice, make sure you have proper support for your neck when sleeping, and proper posture when awake. If you slouch it will make you bring your head and neck forward, which will cause more strain and tightness. If you use a computer a lot make sure the monitor is up high enough so that you're not encouraged to slouch or look down.
My neck doesn't pop either, the rare times that it does it's painful so I don't try to force it to. I don't take anything other than my relafen and an acetaminophen, usually - I'm one of the types that become tolerant to meds easily.