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Cervical Strain

Definition:

Injury to the muscles or tendons in the cervical spine, the portion of the spine contained within the neck. Injuries may stem from daily activities, but often occur from sudden trauma such as a fall, auto accident or sports injury.

Causes:

Triggers of cervical strain can include daily activities such as driving or working at a computer in an awkward or hunched position, or any activity in which the muscles of the neck are tightened for extended periods of time.

Any form of trauma causing sudden body movement forward, with the head rapidly being thrown backward and then forward or side to side, can result in cervical strain.

Symptoms:

Pain is the primary symptom, but its location and severity vary. Individuals may also feel unusually tired or irritable and have trouble concentrating. Movement often worsens pain. Headaches frequently occur with this injury.

Treatment:
  • Ice or cold packs, to help reduce inflammation
  • Heat, gentle massage or ultrasound treatment to increase blood flow and stimulate healing
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain
  • Use of a soft cervical collar during the day and cervical pillow while sleeping to increase comfort
  • Strengthening exercises to improve stability
Neck pain (or cervicalgia) is a common problem, with two-thirds of the population having neck pain at some point in their lives.
South Sound Physical & Hand Therapy Pain Guide