Neck Strain Sprain Information

Neck Strain Sprain Information

In the United States, there are over one million whiplash-related neck strains and sprains reported each year. However, these sprains and strains are also often found in contact sports too, with around a 10 to 15% occurrence in football players alone. Neck strains and sprains occur in the cervical portion of the spine. So, they are often referred to as cervical sprains and strains.

 

 

 


 

Neck Strain/Sprain

Anatomy Of The Cervical Spine As It Relates To Sprains And Strains

The sacral, lumbar, and thoracic spine areas are enclosed by the torso and are much larger and well protected than the cervical spine. The cervical spine is much more mobile than the rest of the spine, a trait that leaves it at greater risk of injury.

The cervical spine is composed of seven cervical vertebrae and eight pairs of cervical nerves. It starts at the skull base, which is identified anatomically as the C1 vertebra, and extends to the C7 vertebra. The vertebral foramen runs from C1 to C5 and houses the spinal cord. There’s also a complex system of ligaments, tendons and 18 muscles in the cervical spine. The overall purpose of the cervical spine is spinal cord containment and protection, allowing rotational head movement, and supporting the skull. So, it’s easy to see how neck sprains or strains can be very serious.

The Difference Between A Neck Sprain And Strain

The causes and symptoms are often alike, the difference is in the specific area injured. A neck strain involves the tissues that move and contract, such as tendons and muscles. Whereas, injuries to non-moving body structures, such as ligaments, are called sprains. Both involve a stretching or tearing of the affected tissue. In neck sprains and strains, the ligaments covering cervical vertebrae and the muscles are the most often injured areas.

Causes Of Neck Sprain/Strain

As far as trauma is concerned, whiplash is a leading cause of sprains and strains in the neck. It occurs as the head is suddenly whipped back (hyper-extended) and then violently flung forward (hyper-flexion), a common movement during many vehicle accidents. Other causes may include any of the following:

* stress from poor body mechanics (lifting or sitting in a slouched position for example)
* compression neck injury (when something falls or strikes the top of the head)
* rotational neck injury (where something strikes or propels the head to the side suddenly and forcefully)
* actions that require repetitive or prolonged neck extension (a job where a phone is held under the neck often for example)
* trauma while participating in sports
* falls

General Symptoms Of Neck Sprain And Strain

* pain that may occur instantly or 24 to 48 hours after the injury
* muscle spasm
* neck stiffness that may even radiate into the lower back
* range of motion decrease
* possible inability to perform daily activities
* possible difficulty chewing or swallowing
* headache
* swelling
* bruising
* burning sensation

Grades Of Sprains

Sprains are categorized based on the severity of the injury:

Grade I - stretching, without a tear to the fibers or loss of neck function
Grade II - a moderate portion of the fibers are torn with some loss of neck function
Grade III - fibers are completely torn or ruptured, with severe to total loss of neck function

 

Strengthening Exercises

These Neck Exercises are ideal to build strength and flexibility.

Massage Treatment

These Neck Massage Techniques are of great value in pain relief; circulation stimulation; dispersing blood and fluid accumulations; swelling reduction; and relaxing muscle spasms, especially when used alongside the Sinew Therapeutics liniments, soaks and massage oil.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage is characterized by swelling, redness, pain, and possibly a local sensation of heat, indicating inflammation. If coolness makes your pain feel better, then the Acute Stage Treatment is recommended.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The acute stage starts the moment an injury occurs and lasts until the swelling and inflammation are gone. The swelling is the result of the blockage of blood, tissue fluids and circulation in the neck because their normal movement has been disrupted by the force of the injury. Just like cars back up behind a traffic jam, causing congestion, exhaust and overheating; blood and fluids back up behind the injured neck, causing pain, inflammation, lumps and swelling.

The sensation of heat is due to the warming action of the blood and fluids overheating in the injured neck as they back up and accumulate. Stiffness and decreased mobility are due to spasms in tendons and ligaments that have contracted reflexively beyond their normal range from the impact of the injury.

As ligaments and tendons stretch and tear, blood from ruptured blood vessels becomes trapped in the local tissues. As the trapped blood clots up, it sticks the tissues together creating adhesions. Adhesions cause pain, inflammation and restricted movement because the layers of tissue that used to slide smoothly across one another now adhere and snap which interferes with normal functioning. It is essential to break up clotted blood as quickly as possible to prevent adhesions and scar tissue from forming.

During the acute stage it is very important to restore normal circulation to the neck, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, reduce swelling, and reduce the redness and heat associated with inflammation. By restoring the flow of blood, fluids, and circulation in the neck, then pain is relieved, damaged tissues can regenerate with healthy functional tissue, and the neck can strengthen and regain it's mobility.

 

ACUTE STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Massage your neck with Acute Sinew Liniment to relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, and stimulate circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.

2. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.

 

 

CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness, and/or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If heat makes your pain feel better, then the Chronic Stage Treatment is recommended.


CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The chronic stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel aching pain and stiffness. This is because there are still accumulations of stagnant blood and fluids in your neck that are blocking circulation and blood supply to damaged tissues, creating residual pain, stiffness and weakness. You may actually feel hard nodules like sand in the tissue, indicating accumulation, calcification, and adhesions, which all cause pain, stiffness, and joint instability.

Your neck may feel more sensitive to the cold and ache in cold and damp weather due to impaired circulation. When you move your neck you may hear a clicking or popping sound from the tendons and ligaments slipping very slightly in and out of their natural alignment indicating weakness and joint instability, causing chronic pain and a cycle of reinjury. These symptoms are often the result of failure to treat the injury properly from the outset and overicing.

Increasing circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues is very important in treating chronic injuries because tendons and ligaments do not have an extensive direct supply of blood. That is why chronic injuries can be slow to heal. Increasing local circulation also prevents cold and dampness from penetrating the injured area, preventing pain and stiffness.

During the chronic stage it is very important to break up remaining accumulations of blood and fluids, and increase circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues. By increasing circulation and blood flow in the neck, then pain and stiffness is relieved, and the tendons and ligaments can strengthen to restore stability.


CHRONIC STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Massage your neck with Chronic Sinew Liniment to relieve pain and stiffness, strongly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. The Sinew Relaxing Soak can be used in-between applications.

2. Soak your neck with the Sinew Relaxing Soak to relax muscles and tendons that are in spasm, ease joint pain and stiffness, and improve range of motion. The Sinew Relaxing Soak is particularly useful if you feel restricted mobility in your neck. The soak can be used by saturating a towel in the liquid and applying it to your neck. Chronic Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.