With so many ligaments and muscles in your neck, it's possible you could suffer an injury at some point. For example, a sprain or tear can occur as the result of a collision, fall or sudden movement.
Some of the most common symptoms of a neck sprain include:
- Pain that worsens with movement, such as turning your head
- Muscle spasms in your neck and shoulders
- Headache, typically in the back of your head
- Difficulty sleeping
- Neck stiffness
- Decreased range of motion
- Numbness in the hands or arms
The last thing you want to do is attempt to treat a neck sprain on your own. Not only could you make a mistake, but you never really know if this is the extent of your injury.
Your doctor can run a variety of tests, such as an X-ray, to get a clear idea of what's happening and which treatment strategy is best.
Although neck sprains typically heal gradually, with the proper amount of rest, there are other things you can do to help yourself. For example, massage, ultrasound therapy and isometric exercise have all been proven effective.
While not the case for everyone, the symptoms of a neck sprain usually improve within four to six weeks. However, if you have a serious neck sprain or recurring injury, it's not out of the question for it to take much longer.
If you suffer a neck sprain on the job, such as the result of a fall from height, call for help and report the incident to your employer. This will put you in position to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits sooner rather than later.