What is Neck Strain?
A strain is a stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon. Your neck is
surrounded by small muscles running close to the vertebrae and larger
muscles that make up the visible muscles of the neck.
How does Neck Strain occur?
The neck muscles are constantly under tension to hold the head up.
Therefore they are often prone to pain through gradual tightening of the
muscles which could also result in tearing from sudden sharp movements.
Common causes of neck strain are :
- An injury may occur to the neck during an accident.
- Keeping the face on one side while sleeping.
- Working on computer for a long time.
- If you are at a job that requires you to be in one position all day.
- Keeping the neck in unusual position for a long time.
Neck Strain Symptoms :
- A sharp pain in the neck.
- Aching in the neck.
- Pain when turning the head sideways.
Neck Strain Treatment :
- Rest your neck and apply R.I.C.E. treatment(Rest , Ice , Compression , Elevation ).
- Your health care provider could prescribe muscle relaxing medication.
- Wear a neck collar to support your neck and prevent any further injury.
- See a physical therapist who could provide a massage.
- See a sports injury professional who could provide a full rehabilitation program.
When can I return to my sport or activity?
The goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your sport or activity
as soon and as safely as possible. But, if you return too soon you may
worsen your injury, which could lead to permanent damage. Everyone
recovers from injury at a different rate. Returning to your sport or
activity will be determined by your recovering ability, the sooner your
neck recovers, the sooner you can return to your sport or activity.
Returning to your sport or activity is not determined by how many days
or weeks have passed since your injury occurred. In general, the longer
you have symptoms of the injury, the longer it will take to get better.
If you participate in contact sports, it is important to rehabilitate
your neck and shoulders before going back to competition. You must have
full range of motion of your neck. This means you must be able to:
- Turn your head fully to look over both shoulders .
- Extend your head backward as far as possible .
- Flex your neck forward until your chin touches your chest.
- Move your head in each direction so that your ear touches your shoulder.
If any of these actions cause pain in your neck or shoulder or, then this is not the correct time to return.
How can I prevent neck strain?
Neck strain is best prevented by having strong and supple neck
muscles. If you have a job that requires you to be in one position all
day (for example, work at a computer all day), it is very important to
take breaks and relax your neck muscles.
In many cases an injury to the neck occurs during an accident that is not preventable.
A sports injury specialist could :
- Advise on a full rehabilitation program of stretching, strengthening and sports massage techniques.
- Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication.
- Prescribe some exercises to do 3-4 times a day to cure the injury fast.
- Provide a neck collar to prevent further injury.
- Apply traction.