Neck pain, stiffness, and numbness can be indicators that there is a problem, and should not be ignored. While massaging, heating pads, and rest are good ways to manage pain and stiffness, it is also a good idea to have these symptoms evaluated by a health care professional/doctor, particularly if your symptoms do not resolve within a few days or if they recur intermittently. It is impossible and unwise for us to try and make a diagnosis simply by reading about your symptoms alone. It is important for a complete evaluation to be conducted so that a specific diagnosis can be made and an appropriate treatment plan started.
Cracking your fingers, neck, or back are habits that many people have, but there is little evidence that this activity will cause the types of symptoms that you have described. Check out our answers to "Numb Pinky Finger" and "Knuckle and Back Cracker" for more information about these concerns.
If you would like to speak with a doctor in northern NJ, call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at (973) 971-6475, in other areas you can talk to your personal physician, your local teen health center, or ask your school nurse for more information about health resources in the community.