Cervical Sprain and Cervical Strain
A high quality of life is dependent on many things, one of which is the pain-free operation of our joints over a normal range of motion. When a cervical sprain or strain occurs, however, patients typically experience headaches, neck pain that grows worse over time, and moderate-to-severe muscle tension in the neck. All of these symptoms reduce mobility and range of motion, things that can substantially lower one’s quality of life given how frequently we need to move our necks and rotate our heads.
There is a difference between cervical sprain and cervical strain. Cervical sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament, which is a band of connective tissue which connects one bone to another. A cervical strain is an injury to a muscle and/or a tendon, which is a fibrous cord of tissue which attaches muscles to a bone.
Most commonly, cervical sprains and / or strains occur during an acceleration-deceleration injury (usually called whiplash, as these injuries frequently occur as a result of an automobile accident). Portions of the neck may be temporarily extended beyond their normal range of motion and patients experience inflammation along the spinal column and corresponding headaches. Damage to the spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae) may also occur, placing nearby spinal nerves at risk for compression. If the spinal discs become herniated (slipped, or ruptured) as a result of the accident, patients may find it necessary to implement a long-term physical therapy regimen or chiropractic treatment in order to preserve mobility.
Generally, cervical sprain or cervical strain is treatable in the same ways that common muscle strains, sprains, and pulls are: rest, hydration, and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen all help to mediate acute pain levels and restore some degree of the patient’s prior mobility. If the whiplash injury was severe or if the patient’s range of motion has declined considerably (along with acute neck pain), doctors will likely advocate for imaging exams to determine the extent of the damage within the neck. X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help doctors examine the soft tissues in the neck (spinal nerves, muscles, ligaments, spinal discs) to narrow the possible root causes for patients’ neck pain.
When it comes to preserving-long-term mobility, most physicians will recommend physical therapy or chiropractic therapy that emphasizes core strength training. Strong muscles along the spinal column, throughout the torso, and including the shoulders and neck will allow these muscles to assist in managing the weight of the skull. Strong muscles will relieve pressure from spinal discs, lowering the incidence of compressed spinal nerves and ultimately lowering a patient’s pain levels. Physical therapy or chiropractic therapy will also help maintain a patient’s general quality of life as they age by building flexibility and maintaining optimal muscle mass. Finally, physical therapy or chiropractic treatment will allow patients the best chance at re-gaining a relatively pain-free range of motion.
The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX takes care of patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Pearland, Galleria, Beaumont, Baytown, Clear Lake, Port Arthur, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Memorial City, Humble, Kingwood, Conroe, Tomball, Missouri City, Texas City, and Texas Medical Center (TMC)
Patients suffering from a low back pain or neck pain, or who have been told they may require a low back surgery or neck sugery, can
contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at
……. Or visit www.SpineHealth.com to schedule an appointment online
Keywords: cervical sprain, cervical strain, neck pain, range of motion, physical therapy, chiropractic, spinal, injury, Houston, Kingwood, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Sugarland, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont