The cervical spine is the most mobile segment of the spine, but this mobility also makes it susceptible to strain and injury. Sprains and strains are soft tissue injuries. A strain affects muscles and tendons, while sprains affect ligaments.
How long does it take a cervical strain to heal?
With proper treatment and rest, most patients will recover from a neck strain or sprain within four to six weeks. If the strain or sprain is severe, it can take three months or more to fully recover.
How do you treat a cervical strain?
Treating Cervical Strain
Most patients feel relief using anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, or using ice, moist heat or a neck brace. Physical therapy, massage and stretching can also be effective. Generally, symptoms resolve in a few days to a few weeks.
What is the most common way to injure your cervical spine?
The most common causes of cervical fractures and dislocations are motor vehicle accidents, falls, violence, and sports activities. The abrupt impact and/or twisting of the neck that occurs in a millisecond during the trauma can cause the spine bones to crack or the ligaments to rupture, or both.
How bad is a cervical strain?
While a neck strain typically heals on its own within a few days or weeks, the pain may range from mild and achy to sharp and debilitating. A neck sprain or strain occurs when there is an injury to the soft tissues of the neck. Sometimes the terms neck strain and neck sprain are used interchangeably.
How do doctors check for whiplash?
Healthcare providers can usually diagnose whiplash by examining your symptoms and asking you questions about your injury. CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can show details of damaged soft tissues (such as nerves or disks), though they may not always be required.
What are the signs of a neck injury?
Common neck injury symptoms
- Difficulty turning the neck.
- Muscle spasms in neck and shoulders.
- Neck pain.
- Stiffness in the neck.
- Weakness in the legs, arms, hands or fingers.
What are the main differences between a cervical sprain and a cervical strain?
The difference between a strain and a sprain is the type of connective tissues that are affected. A cervical strain is when muscles, or tendons, in your neck are overstretched. One type of strain is commonly known as “whiplash”. Whiplash is when your neck is quickly “whipped” back and forth in a front and back motion.
Should you massage a pulled neck muscle?
Gently rub the area to relieve pain and help with blood flow. Do not massage the area if it hurts to do so. Do not do anything that makes the pain worse.
What is a cervical spine strain?
Cervical strain (sprain of the ligaments of the cervical spine) is a common injury routinely seen in the emergency department (ED). A cervical strain is chiefly the result of a stretch injury to the muscular and ligamentous elements of the cervical spine.
When is neck injury serious?
When a Pain in the Neck Is More Than Just a Pain
Some signs of a serious neck injury: Pain that doesn’t go away or is severe. Shooting pain in your arms or legs. Numbness, weakness, or tingling in your arms or legs.
What are signs of a head neck or back injury?
Weakness, incoordination or paralysis in any part of your body. Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes. Loss of bladder or bowel control. Difficulty with balance and walking.