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What is a Neck Strain? | Car Accident Doctor Atlanta

November 2, 2011

A strain is a tear of a muscle or tendon. Your neck is surrounded by small muscles, that run close to the vertebrae, and larger muscles, that make up the visible muscles of the neck.

How does it occur?

Neck strains most often occur when the head and neck are forcibly moved, such as in a whiplash injury or from contact in sports. Sometimes strains can occur from an awkward position during sleep or poor posture while working at a computer.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include pain in your neck. When the neck muscles go into spasm you feel tightness and tension in your neck that is tender to the touch. You may have pain when you move your head to either side or when you try to move your head up or down. All this tension in the muscles can cause tension headaches.

The pain may start right after an injury or may take a few hours or days to develop, as seen many times in car accidents. Other symptoms may include neck stiffness, dizziness, or unusual sensations, such as burning, tingling, or a pins and needles sensation.

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor will examine your neck and may order X-rays or an MRI to make sure the vertebrae and/or discs are not injured.

How is it treated?

Right after the injury you should place an ice pack on your neck for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 or 4 hours for 2 to 3 days or until the pain goes away.

If you still have neck pain several days after the injury and after using ice, your doctor may recommend using moist heat on your neck. You can buy a moist-heat pad or make your own by soaking towels in hot water. Put moist heat on your neck for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 or 4 hours until the pain goes away. You may find that it helps to alternate putting heat and ice on your neck.

Your doctor may recommend an anti-inflammatory medication and a neck collar to support your neck and prevent further injury. Chiropractic treatment has also been shown to be an excellent solution to neck strains.

Do the stretching and strengthening exercises recommended by your doctor.

How long will the effects last?

The length of recovery depends on many factors such as your age, health, previous neck injuries, and the severity of the injury. A mild injury may recover within a few weeks, whereas a severe injury may take 6 weeks or longer to recover.

For more health related articles and videos, please join us on Facebook at Atlanta Chiropractor or visit our website at Car Accident Doctor Atlanta

If you or anyone you know has been involved in an accident or is in pain, please call us now at (678) 223 – 3900


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