What you need to know about neck sprains

sprained neck

A sprained neck can be very painful

What you need to know about a sprained neck

If you have recently been in an accident or had an injury which left you with whiplash or a sprained neck, you might not be sure what the diagnosis means and how it will affect your life. In this post, we’ll discuss what happens when you sprain your neck, different causes of a sprained neck, symptoms that you might experience, and the amount of time that recovery normally takes. Don’t worry- we’ll keep it short. It’s not easy to concentrate with a sprained neck, and we want you to make a quick recovery and get some rest!

What causes a sprained neck?

A sprained neck occurs when the neck is extended to an extreme and unnatural position very rapidly. This may be the result of an accident, fall, or other injury. The ligaments that connect your cervical vertebrae are the cause of the pain you are feeling right now; they are the part of your neck that is injured when you have a sprained neck. These tough, rope like strands help to connect your vertebrae together, and can either stretch or tear as a result of injury. The damage they accrue when your neck is hyper-extended can take a while to heal. Until then, you might be feeling miserable, and you definitely won’t be very comfortable.

Symptoms of a sprained neck

When you have a sprained neck, it might be difficult to realize how or when the injury occurred. The pain and surrounding symptoms may not be apparent immediately following the accident. It may take up to 24 hours for the pain of a sprained neck to truly peak. That’s why some people who experience whiplash as a result of an accident may not even realize anything is wrong until a day or two later.

Other common symptoms of a sprained neck include pain in the back of the neck that gets worse when you move, headache in the back of the head, sore throat, decreased range of motion, numbness in your arms or hands, muscle spasms, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating, fatigue and increased irritability.

Treatment for a sprained neck

If your doctor believes you have a sprained neck, he or she will most likely recommend that you ice the injury, try to reduce your activity level – maybe even recommending that you wear a soft cervical collar to support your head, take pain relievers as needed, and get plenty of rest. You might also be given specific exercises to try, or be advised to consider massage or ultrasound therapies, depending on the severity of your sprain.

Neck sprain care

Most individuals with a sprained neck feel better within 2-3 weeks.  You can expect to make a complete recovery by 4-6 weeks after the initial injury, assuming that you have followed your doctor’s advice. In more severe cases, recovery may take as long as 2-3 months, and re-injury can occur, so take it easy on yourself and don’t try to do too much too soon! If your symptoms continue past this point, you might want to ask your doctor if it is possible that another condition is causing your discomfort.

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