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Neck Sprain

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Neck Sprain

Neck Sprain

Neck sprain refers to a stretch or tear that occurs in one or more of the cervical vertebrae when a sudden movement such as collision in a case of motor vehicle accidents or a hard fall causing one's neck to twist to an intense position. These seven bones of the spinal discourse in the neckline are connected to each other by tendons and muscles forming strong bands that act like thick rubber band which when interfered with, causes neck strain or sprain.


Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of neck sprain include pain when rocking the head from side to side or when doing it forward and backward, tenderness, headaches at the base of the head radiating near the forehead; and neck muscles feeling hard or knotted with decreased range of motion.

An individual having a neck sprain may experience a wide range of probable signs and symptoms such as tingling or weakness in the arms, pain particularly in the back of the neck that worsens with when one moves about, pain that becomes worse a day or so after the injury instead of instantly, muscle spasms and pain experienced in one's upper shoulder, headache in the backside of the head, sore throat, increased irritability, exhaustion, sleeping problems, difficulty when concentrating, numbness in the arm and neck stiffness or decreased range of motion.


The structure of the cervical vertebrae is such that it houses the delicate spinal cord while providing support to the head and permits flexible mobility and a range of motion. However, the same engineering that allows the flexibility of the spine may also leave it susceptible to injury.  Other causes of this condition include spending too much time in an awkward position such as viewing a computer for a long duration of time in a gauche position, in a steering wheel or cradling a handset in the crook of the collar.

In addition, if one sleeps using a pillow that is too high or is hard can strain his or her neck; carrying a heavy object on one side of the body is a recipe for neck sprain, other trauma that impact on the neck or a fall that lands one on the top of the head “ all are causes of neck sprain.


Sprains and strains are treated in a similar manner notwithstanding their location in the body. Neck sprains just like other forms of sprains, usually heal steadily when give proper treatment and ample time to heal. Besides, one may be forced to wear a soft collar around his or her neck during healing period to relieve pressure on the ligaments and support the head.

Comparatively, use of pain relievers like ibuprofen can help in reducing swelling and associated pain; spasms can be reduced by use of muscle relaxants, and application of an ice pack several times a day for the first three days after the injury.  Moist heat can also be applied slowly to loosen cramped muscles. All these methods of treatments are aimed at reducing irritation and anxiety during injury. Further treatment methods are massaging the area, use of ultrasound, neck traction and isometric use.


Stretching regularly and performing strengthening exercises for you fitness, sport or recreational activities is an ideal means of preventing sprains. In case your job is physically demanding, following a regular conditioning and stretching routine is most likely going to help reduce your risk. Make sure you do not strain your neck while doing strenuous activities and isolation workouts such as crunches. If you feel that your neck is straining, give yourself a moment to roll your neck in both directions before resuming your work.