Neck Strain (cont.)
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What Are Causes and Risk Factors of Neck Strain?
Neck strains result from injury to the neck. Such injuries are caused most often by indirect trauma when the head is flung backward (hyperextension) or forward (hyperflexion), commonly known as whiplash. Injuries caused by rotation and compression (when the force of impact lands on the top of the head) can also result in neck strains and soft-tissue injury.
What Are Neck Strain Symptoms and Signs?
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The cardinal symptom of neck strain is pain and often combined with decreased range of motion. Although one typically has pain after an injury, it is not uncommon for someone to be free of discomfort initially, because inflammatory changes may happen slowly. The presence of immediate pain at the time of injury should serve as a red flag that the injuries may be more severe than first thought. The classic events after a whiplash injury are that the patient feels fine the day of the injury but wakes up the next morning with pain and decreased range of motion.
Other symptoms include the inability to perform daily work or activities that one could do before. Be wary of symptoms suggesting nerve irritation or a pinched nerve, such as weakness, numbness, tingling, incoordination, and dizziness. Neck strain does not typically cause lymph node swelling.
Neck stiffness usually occurs and may radiate into the lower back when severe. Difficulty chewing, swallowing, and breathing occur rarely. Anyone with these symptoms should contact a doctor.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/3/2016
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