Ligaments are flexible bands of tissue that connect your bones together. Your neck has seven vertebral bones that make up your cervical spine. The ligaments that hold them together normally stretch with movement and return to their normal position. A neck sprain is when a ligament in the neck stretches farther than it should. If the sprain is severe, the ligament can tear.
Dignity Health provides personal orthopedic care, sports medicine, and physical therapy at several convenient locations throughout the Bay Area. If you think you have a neck sprain in the Bay Area, use our online Find a Doctor tool to find an orthopedic specialist that’s right for you.
Neck Sprain Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of neck sprain include:
- Headaches in the back of the head
- Muscle spasms in the neck or shoulders
- Neck pain that worsens with movement
- Neck stiffness
- Numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arms and hands
It’s important to see your Dignity Health doctor for ongoing or severe neck pain, or if the pain is interfering with your day-to-day activities. If your neck pain is due to an accident, seek immediate medical care or call 9-1-1.
Causes of Neck Sprain
A neck sprain occurs when the ligaments in your neck are stretched beyond their capacity. The force that causes this is usually some sort of trauma, such as a fall or high-speed car accident. One common type of neck sprain is whiplash, which is caused by a very fast back and forth movement in the neck.
Treatment & Prevention of Neck Sprain in the Bay Area
The orthopedic specialist at Dignity Health can provide the expert medical care necessary to rule out more severe injuries, such as spinal (vertebrae) fractures.
Treatment of neck sprains consists of rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medicines. A soft neck collar can be used to support the head, relieving pressure on the ligaments. Massage can also speed healing and help relieve symptoms. Neck ligaments usually heal in about four to six weeks, however recovery from a severe neck sprain may take longer.
Our doctors suggest the following to prevent neck injury:
- Apply ergonomic principles at your workplace.
- Maintain proper walking and sitting posture.
- Properly adjust the headrest in your car.
- Strengthen your neck, shoulder, and back muscles.
- Try a telephone headset or earpiece.
- Use a pillow that supports your neck.
To request a doctor referral at Dignity Health, call (844) 387-6324 today.
Dignity Health provides trusted care for neck sprains in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.