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Neck Sprain: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

Lalita is a 36-year-old housewife. She is a super-energetic woman with a 10-year-old boy. She loves playing badminton with her son. However, for the last few days, she is feeling uncomfortable due to constant pain in the neck. Her son asked her to consult a doctor. Lalita consulted a doctor and got to know that she is suffering from a neck sprain. The doctor advised her muscle relaxants and prescribed her some anti-inflammatory medicines.

neck sprain

Neck sprain is a common health problem that most of us experience at least once in our lifetime. In most of the cases, it goes on its own with a proper change in the posture and some massage therapies. However, in severe cases, one should seek a proper neck sprain treatment.

Let us dig deeper to understand all about neck sprain and the best neck sprain treatments that may offer you some relief.

What is a Neck Sprain?

A neck sprain, as the name suggests is an injury in the neck due to a stretched ligament. It happens when a neck ligament stretches more than normal. This overstretching leads to pain and discomfort in the neck. The most common cause of a neck sprain is a whiplash injury, where your head or neck gets a sudden jerk or force. 

Neck Sprain Symptoms

The most common symptom of a neck sprain is pain. Besides, pain there are several other neck sprain symptoms like:

  • Severe headaches
  • Headache right at the back of your head
  • Problem sleeping
  • Problem concentrating
  • Stiffness of the neck
  • Numbness in the upper extremities
  • Weakness in the shoulders and neck
  • Muscle spasms in shoulders and neck
  • Sore Throat


Neck Sprain Causes

1. Neck Sprain from Sleeping

One common reason for a neck sprain is when you tend to sleep in the wrong direction, where your neck is hanging or stretching too hard. 

2. Neck Sprain from Sports

Another common cause of a neck sprain is when you suffer from sports injuries. You fall or are hit by a ball or some other sports equipment and get a neck sprain. 

3. Neck Sprain from Accident

A head-on collision with a vehicle at a high speed is one of the most common causes of a neck sprain. 

4. Neck Sprain from Physical Assault

On the other hand, a neck sprain may take place due to a physical assault or attack. 

5. Neck Sprain from a Rapid Movement

Besides, neck sprain may also take place due to a rapid movement of the neck in extreme directions. 

6. Neck Sprain due to a Wrong Posture

One of the biggest reasons to suffer a neck sprain is poor posture. When you tend to hold something in the wrong posture or stand, or sit for hours in the wrong posture, your neck sprains.

7. Neck Sprain by Lifting Heavy Weight

Another reason for neck strain is when you lift heavy weights. This overexerts your neck muscles and as a result, you may suffer from a neck sprain. 

Neck Sprain Treatment

Now, talking about the neck sprain treatment, let us tell you that such a sprain has no special treatment. In most cases, it is treated like any other sprain in any other part of the body. Moreover, neck sprain treatment depends on the severity of the sprain and its underlying cause. Some of the common treatments prescribed for a neck sprain are:

1. Massage Therapy

The easiest way to get some relief from a neck sprain is massage therapy. This can be done at home with utmost ease by taking someone’s help.  

2. Ice Pack

Second home remedy for neck strain or sprain relief is an ice pack. Apply an ice pack within 24 hours of a neck sprain and follow it with a heat application using a towel. This remedy often works wonders in relieving your off-neck sprain. 

3. Muscle Relaxant Medicines

If the massage therapy and ice application don’t give any relief, you may opt for over-the-counter muscle relaxant medicines. These medicines are easily available at any pharmaceutical store.

4. Physical Therapy

Third useful treatment to treat a neck sprain is physiotherapy or physical therapy. A trained physiotherapist can help you overcome the neck sprain by helping you perform some exercises and using some heat therapies. 

5. Neck Sprain Exercises

Likewise, you may also choose to try neck sprain exercises. These exercises help to overcome the stiffness of the neck and restore the normal neck movement like before. 

The Bottom Line

In a nutshell, it may seem to be a small problem, but one should never take a neck sprain lightly. If you are suffering from neck sprain from sleeping posture, try to change the posture you will experience relief. Likewise, try keeping your posture right and you can expect a lot of relief. However, if despite all the therapies and changing postures, you don’t experience any relief, do consult your doctor. 


How do I know if I sprain my neck?

When you feel pain in the neck and difficulty in moving your neck, take it as a clear indication of a neck sprain. Besides, if you experience muscle tightness and spasms or difficulty sleeping, then you are most likely suffering from a sprained neck.

How long does it take for a sprained neck to heal?

If proper treatment, rest, and medicines are taken, a neck sprain may get healed within four or five weeks. However, the time taken for recovery may extend, if the neck sprain is severe.

How do you treat a sprained neck?

Mild symptoms of a neck sprain can be treated using anti-inflammatory medications, either in the form of tablets, or ointments. Besides, applying an ice pack followed by a heating pad can help get some relief. Other options to treat a sprained neck are physical therapies and massage therapies.

What does a neck sprain feel like?

The most common symptom of a neck sprain is a pain in the neck. A person suffering from neck sprain feels pain when moving the neck in any movement. The pain is felt more at the backside of the neck and if the treatment is delayed, the pain worsens.

How should I sleep with a sprained neck?

The best position to sleep if you are suffering from a neck sprain is on your back or on your side. Make sure to use a soft pillow and keep your head and body aligned. Also, ensure that your neck doesn’t drop to your right or left when you sleep on your side.

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