Symptoms of Neck Strain and When to Worry

A tear in the muscle fibers can result in muscle strain. This can also occur on the neck, resulting in a neck strain. The injury is usually mild to moderate and generally heals by itself in less than a week. Most cases of neck strain result from sudden movement or force exerted on the head or neck, such as during a car accident or from falling. In such a case it’s called a whiplash. It can also be a result of staying in an awkward posture for long such as during sleep.

Neck Strain Symptoms

The main symptom of neck strain is pain coupled with a reduction in range of neck movement. Pain is usually felt at injury time, but neck strain pain may be different since inflammatory changes can occur slowly; hence most people may fail to notice any pain at the initial stages. If pain is felt immediately at point of injury, it indicates the injuries could be more serious. It’s usually common for you to feel fine after a whiplash occurrence only to wake up the next day with pain and a lesser range of motion.

Other strain symptoms include inability to continue with your daily activities and work as before. You should be wary of symptoms that indicate the nerves are irritated such as dizziness, numbness, incoordination, tingling and weakness. Note that swollen lymph nodes are not necessarily caused by neck strain.Additionally, neck stiffness may occur and may include the back in more severe cases.

When to See a Doctor

Should symptoms persist or they don’t clear as expected; or new ones appear, you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

Contact a doctor if you experience the following:

Additionally, some symptoms indicate injury to vital parts in the neck and should therefore be quickly attended medically. These are such as:

In case your doctor is unreachable, you should quickly go to the emergency department of a hospital and get an evaluation for these neck strain symptoms.You should also contact a doctor in case additional injury occurs while the neck pain is still present.

If you see any symptom that suggests the nervous system, airway or the spinal cord is affected, seek medical attention immediately.

Symptoms for injury of the spinal cord include:

How Is Neck Strain Treated?

Since most strains on the neck muscles, tendons and ligaments heal in a short time (in most cases, with 24 – 48 hours), there are several remedies that you can use to relieve the pain. These include:

You may as well consider osteopathic manipulative therapy (which is administered by a trained physician of manipulative medicine), chiropractic care, acupuncture, or physical therapy.

Stretches for Neck Strain Symptoms

Neck Rolls

Shoulder Rolls

Forward Flex

Side Flex

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