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Neck Sprain Treatment

Relieving discomfort

The neck is the most flexible part of the spine and supports the weight of the head. The unique anatomical structure of the cervical vertebrae allows free movement of the head. The neck is also composed of muscles and ligaments. Any excessive stress on the ligament and muscles may injure or damage them.

A neck sprain is a ligament injury caused by over stretching the ligament beyond its optimal capacity. It may even result in a ligament tear.

A neck strain refers to damage to the muscle or its tendon when it is stretched beyond its capacity. In severe cases it may even result in a muscle tear.

The spine specialists in Kenya at NSOC  are experts in treating neck sprains and strains. If you are suffering from neck pain kindly book an appointment today.

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Causes and risk factors of neck sprains & strains

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Neck sprains and 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 theses neck problems and soft-tissue injury.

  • Automobile accidents are responsible for many whiplash injuries because of hyperextension or hyperflexion.

  • People with occupations requiring repetitive or prolonged neck extension (microtrauma) may develop neck strain injury.

  • Some people appear prone to neck sprain injuries merely as the result of an abnormal posture while awake or from sleeping in an awkward position.

  • Prolonged poor neck position from texting, talking on the phone, using a computer, or other activities that put the head in forward position.

Symptoms of neck sprains and strains

A sprain or strain may result in neck pain, which may develop immediately after the injury or may present after a few hours or even days after the injury.

The pain is usually intense and pounding in nature with a sudden onset. The pain may also radiate to the shoulder, upper back or arms.

It may also be associated with muscle spasms. The affected region may be tender to touch with localized swelling and stiffness. Even slight movement of the neck can aggravate the pain. In rare cases it may also result in loss of bowel or bladder function which is a medical emergency. If you experience this kindly contact us to access our ortho urgent care services in Nairobi, Kenya.

Whiplash injuries are more severe neck injuries. They usually result in headache, dizziness, jaw pain and a ringing sensation in the ears.


Evaluation and Diagnosis

An accurate diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment of this condition. To arrive at an accurate diagnosis the doctor will inquire about your symptoms, time of their appearance and a history of any treatments employed previously.

A medical history, physical and neurological examinations are also essential for diagnosis.

Neurological examination is conducted to identify any signs of neurological injury and involves evaluation of reflexes and muscle weakness.

To confirm the diagnosis and to rule out other causes with similar symptoms an X-ray or a CT scan may also be performed. Rarely, an electromyography may also be ordered if an underlying muscle abnormality is suspected.

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Home remedies for  neck sprains and strains

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If the pain is not severe and one does not have any new numbness, weakness, or other symptoms of nerve failure, mild neck strain can be safely treated at home.

  • If pain is moderate, bed rest may be necessary. A cervical collar may be beneficial.
  • It is helpful to place a small pillow under the nape of the neck to provide proper neutral positioning.

  • Dry or moist heat applied to the area often provides relief from pain caused by muscle spasm.
  • One should guard against neck extension because this will make the pain worse.

You are in Great Hands

Treatment for neck sprains and strains

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Your treatment depends on all the information gathered from your diagnosis. Although the pain is excruciating, in a majority of cases non-operative therapies are sufficient.

Some of the non-operative therapies include rest, activity modification, medications such as muscle relaxant and intermittent application of ice pack followed by moist heat application. A neck collar may also be recommended for a few weeks to support the neck as well as to prevent any neck movement in order to potentiate healing. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID’s may also be prescribed to reduce the pain and swelling. Physical therapy, chiropractic or acupuncture may also be effective in some cases.

Interventional Pain Management Options

Interventional techniques can be a faster and more definitive method of pain relief – event in the acute phase.  These treatments are useful in the presence of severe pain that has failed conservative medical treatment and/or medication.

  • Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection – This procedure is considered a very effective treatment for neck pain. Under fluoroscopic guidance, your physician will place a small needle into the epidural space and inject a small amount of medication to eliminate the pain.
  • Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection – This procedure is similar to the one above; however, in this case the medication is focused directly onto the nerve fibers that make up the sciatic nerve.
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) – When the inflammation in and around the affected nerves is too great for an epidural injection, SCS is an excellent and effective treatment option that can eliminate the pain without surgery.
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