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An Overview of Neck Sprains

Last updated 3 years ago

Neck sprains occur when the ligaments that surround the cervical spine stretch or tear. The symptoms of neck sprains often send people to the emergency room for care. The good news for neck sprain sufferers is that treatments are usually effective in controlling pain and most people heal completely. Here is what you need to know about this condition.

What Causes Neck Sprains?

Neck sprains often occur after a sudden movement forces the neck to hyperextend. This extreme movement can stretch the ligaments, leading to the injury. Most neck sprains occur during car accidents and falls in which the neck is thrown into an unnatural position.

What Are the Symptoms?

Pain in the back of the neck is the main symptom of a neck sprain. In most cases, the pain gets worse the day after the accident instead of immediately after the injury. You may also experience spasms and pain in the upper shoulder, as well as a headache that is centered in the back of your head. More extreme symptoms include sore throat, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and numbness in the arms.

How Are Neck Sprains Treated?

If you experience the symptoms of a neck sprain, go to the emergency room for care. There, doctors will perform a physical exam and talk to you about how the injury happened. They may also order an X-ray to rule out other causes of your neck pain, including spinal fractures. When your sprain is diagnosed, you may be given a soft collar to wear to support your neck while you heal. Ice and heat can help relieve pain, as can over-the-counter pain medicines. Most neck sprains heal within four to six weeks.

For all of your bumps and bruises, trust the emergency room at Brandon Regional Hospital. We provide services ranging from pediatric treatments to stroke care, as well as orthopedic treatments, a NICU, and much more. Learn more about our Hillsborough County hospital by calling (888) 327-2636. 


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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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