Neck Sprains and Strains

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Neck sprains and strains are similar but different soft tissue disorders.

A sprain is an injury to a ligament caused by overuse or trauma. Whiplash is a common type of sprain often referred to as a hyperextension and hyperflexion injury. A strain is an injury to a tendon or muscle caused by overuse or trauma. Muscle pain that develops from cradling the phone between the ear and shoulder is an example of a strain. 

Both sprains and strains can cause:

  • Severe pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling

Whiplash can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Jaw pain 

Diagnosing & Treatment

Your doctor will ask your medical history and perform a physical exam. Your doctor may also order diagnostic tests that include:

  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRI scans 

Many different nonsurgical treatments can help relieve neck sprain or strain symptoms.