Thank you for your question and I can assure that you are not alone!
Increased use of computers and smart devices in our lives have meant that neck pain is going to be a huge problem in the not too distant future. In the past, neck pain was typically after an accident or from torticollis, but if you take a look around most commuter vehicles these days, people are almost in the fetal position while using their phone.
The main cause of neck pain is poor muscle strength and fascial irritation. Both are brought about by poor posture, with the flexor muscles being too dominant compared to the extensor muscles, and the neck fascia being overly stretched from the constant bent forward posture. This might account for the looseness sensation that you have mentioned. Cracking might be from stiffness in the joints from the prolonged sitting posture as well.
As Dr Henry mentions, getting assessed by a Musclo-skeletal/Sports Medicine Doctor would be a good start and if there is a surgical need, perhaps an Orthopedic Surgeon. Often, most neck pains do not need imaging unless there are neurological symptoms.
Good luck with your neck pain!