A neck strain involves excessive stretching or tearing of the neck muscle. A neck strain typically occurs once the head and neck are struck or forcibly moved such as during contact sports or whiplash in falls or vehicular accidents. Oftentimes, the injury occurs from an awkward position while sleeping or poor posture while working in a desk.
What are the signs?
The usual indication of a neck strain is neck pain. Other signs that might be present include:
- Discomfort when the head is moved sideways or upwards and downwards
- Spasm and tenderness of the neck muscles
- Pain can be felt right after the injury or delayed for a few hours or days after
- Stiff neck
- Unusual sensations such as pins-and-needles or burning
Management of a neck strain
Generally, the doctor will suggest stretching and strengthening exercises along with other forms of physical therapy to promote healing.
In most cases, the pain often settles after a few weeks with self-care measures, but some cases might take some time to recuperate.
Some of the measures to relieve the discomfort include:
- Application of an ice pack that has been covered with a towel or cloth on the site several times throughout the day.
- Provide an over-the-counter pain medication as instructed by the doctor or based on the dosage instructions on the packaging.
- Moist heat can also be used to promote the relaxation of the muscles as well as allow easier neck movement.
A neck strain can be prevented by making sure that the neck muscles are kept flexible and strong.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on a neck strain is for learning purposes only. Learn more about the causes and how it is treated by taking a standard first aid course with Vancouver First Aid.