Q: What exactly is a neck sprain/strain?
A: The neck has many small ligaments, tendons, and muscles that connect the bones in the cervical spine which work together to move the neck/head around for our benefit. A strain/sprain can happen when a sudden movement, such as a hard fall or a motor vehicle accident that occurs and injures the soft tissues around the spinal column in the neck. During an injury, the soft tissue can be stretched beyond its normal capacity which results in a strain/tearing of the tissues. This causes pain and inflammation, which can result in stiffness, painful movements, and decreased motion.
Q: What are the symptoms of a neck sprain/strain?
A: Symptoms can vary, but some possible symptoms include:
- Pain around the neck that worsens with movement
- Neck stiffness
- Decreased range of motion (up/down, side to side, rotation)
- Tingling/numbness in the arms/hands
- Muscle spasms
- Difficulty sleeping, irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentration
Q: How can Physical Therapy help?
A: Physical therapy can help neck strains/sprains by:
- Reducing pain and stiffness
- Improving neck range of motion
- Increasing strength and stability in the neck musculature
- Improving posture
- Developing an exercise program to continue at home when functional goals are met to help prevent pain from happening again
Manual therapy techniques, modalities, and therapeutic exercises can be utilized to help the healing process and enable the patient to meet their functional goals. The physical therapist will develop a comprehensive plan of care to help the symptoms of a neck strain/sprain and that will improve day-to-day life by increasing neck range of motion and functional ability for daily movements.
It is valuable to know who to reach out to if you have had an injury or are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. Contact any of the Makovicka Physical Therapy clinics with any questions you have and they can schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our physical therapists who will provide you with valuable information and help you determine the next step towards your healing process.
Shannon Daly, PTA