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Neck Strain

Overview | Causes | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | FAQS


Neck strain is an irritation to tendons, muscles and ligaments in the upper back and neck area.

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Neck strain can occur as the result of an abrupt movement by the neck such as whiplash.

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Symptoms of neck strain can include any of the following:

  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Abnormal sensations such as prickling or burning
  • Shoulder pain
  • Back pain
  • Memory loss
  • Concentration impairment
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

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To accurately diagnose your neck condition, your physician will perform a physical exam and obtain a detailed medical history. Your physician may also recommend x-rays, MRI, CT scan, EMG, bone scan or discography.

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Treatment for neck strains can include any one or a combination of the following:

  • Pain medications
  • Anti-depressants
  • Use of a cervical collar
  • Exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Cervical traction

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Why are neck strains so common in car accidents?

The main reason is that a vehicle’s headrest on the back of the seat limits the range of extension in your neck.

How long does a neck strain usually take to heal?

It varies for each patient. Some people have symptoms for a few hours while others can last up to six weeks or more.

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