Neck spain is tearing of ligaments in the neck due to repeated or a sudden “beyond the range” neck motion which forces the ligaments to stretch excessively and ultimately causing them to tear off.
The tendons and ligaments are thick bands of tissues that connect bones, and any injury, jerk or trauma to the neck leads to the tearing and damage of these ligaments. Car accidents, amusement rides and impact of any object can cause the neck to move backward and forward beyond its capacity and this causes sprain. Sporting events that involve high impact, assaults, fall and certain occupations cause sprain in the neck.
- Pain in the neck that worsens with movement
- Tightness in the neck
- Knotted muscles
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Stiffness that makes it difficult to move neck
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Weakness and tingling sensation in the arms
If in case, the symptoms persist for long or there is concussion, then the patient should immediately consult an orthopedic doctor who will physically examine the patient, review his/her posture and position of the head. The doctor checks the range of motion, muscle strength and reflexes to confirm whether the patient can detect a sensation or not. Doctor may recommend certain imaging tests such as X-rays, CT Scans, or MRI to check the cross sectional view of neck.
When patient is in pain, he/she needs to be treated immediately. The pain, tension and inflammation are usually treated with analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications. Ice and heat treatment can be effective in the initial hours. The patient may also be recommended some muscle relaxants and the use of neck collar for short term to get relief. The physical therapists often suggest doing some gentle movements and exercises that offer relief to the patient.