How To Relieve a Neck Sprain
WHAT IS A NECK SPRAIN?
Besides the bones in our spinal column, our neck consists of various other soft tissue structures. These include our ligaments, muscles, intervertebral discs, and other tissues which surround our cervical spine.
Why does my neck hurt? When these soft tissue structures are suddenly stretched beyond what they can handle, this often results in what we call a neck sprain (or cervical sprain). Depending on the severity of the sprain, it can result in a partial or even a complete tear of the soft tissue structures.
Neck sprains often occur as a result of a sudden movement following a traumatic injury, such as a whiplash incident or during contact sports.
- Neck pain and/or discomfort
- Mild swelling in affected area
- Point tenderness in affected area
- Limited range of motion in the neck
How do you manage a neck sprain?
TREATMENT OF A NECK SPRAIN
In the acute phase of the injury (within the first three weeks), it’s important to give it the appropriate time for the pain and inflammation to settle down.
During the initial few days, an ice pack may be applied temporarily to help with the swelling, followed by the short use of a heat pack throughout the days after to alleviate muscle cramping or tightness in the neck.
Other interventions such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be used to reduce the pain and inflammation within the area.
During this phase, it’s important to keep the neck moving as much as possible within its pain-free range of motion to help restore the neck to its normal function, as well as avoiding any aggravating positions which cause excessive pain/discomfort.
Once the pain and inflammation are under control, the goal is to restore the full range of motion in the neck (left image), as well as work to strengthen the muscles in our neck through resisted isometric exercises (right image).
FURTHER ASSESSMENT OF YOUR NECK PAIN
It’s important to note that in cases where you think you may have experienced a neck sprain or injury, you should have a proper assessment to determine the most appropriate management for your situation.
The following information on this blog post is for information only, it is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or medical condition.