The neck is a compact area of the body with many different facets, including seven cervical vertebrae and a whole host of nerve bundles, not to mention ligaments and muscles supporting it all. As a result, there are a number of different catalysts that can cause discomfort. Most result in similar pain symptoms that make everyday tasks a big chore. And, unfortunately for neck pain sufferers, this makes it very difficult to determine what, exactly, is causing pain.
The two most common types of neck pain are sprains and strains. Despite sounding similar, these conditions are actually quite unique. Understanding the difference between sprains and strains can be the first step towards identifying what’s wrong with your neck and what options you may have for recovery.
Chiropractors are spinal experts who can take a top-down look at your spine and provide valuable insight in narrowing down the source of pain. At Stability Health Center in Seattle, WA, we use this insight to find corrective solutions to neck ailments, in addition to pain management plans for chronic neck pain conditions. Fight back against the chronic pain of sprains and strains with help from our team!
Similarities and differences between sprains and strains
Sprains and strains are similar in one way: they’re overexertion injuries. For example, both can occur as the result of whiplash, due to the sharp acceleration-deceleration. The neck is overextended, causing damage to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the neck. This is where the difference in the who injuries becomes apparent.
A sprain involves stretching or tearing of ligaments: the tissues that connect bones and joints. These are critical for facilitating movement. A strain, on the other hand, is an injury that affects the muscles or tendons. Typical symptoms with either condition include:
- Decreased range of motion;
- Dull aching pain;
- Frequent headaches;
- Ruptured spinal discs.
How injuries affect the neck
A sprain or a strain is generally followed by nerve inflammation in the affected area, which has rippling effects on the rest of your body. Because the support systems of the neck have been damaged, stress, strain, and subluxation are soon to follow in the cervical spine. And while massage or myofascial release may be the choice treatment for soft tissue injuries, chiropractic may offer relief for the affected region of the spine.
Relief from sprains and strains
Spinal adjustments provided by a certified chiropractor can be essential to recovery from sprains and strains. Resetting the spinal column to correct subluxations can provide long-term relief and restore balance in the spine. Maintaining the integrity of vertebral discs is crucial to central nervous system function and to supporting joint health. After a sprain or strain injury, this is priority number one.
Chiropractic may also offer physical therapy treatments to support healing. Stretches and exercises that strengthen key muscle groups that have been affected by strains. For example, core strength is critical to providing adequate support to the spinal column. This treatment is important to prevent injuries from recurring or being aggravated. Other complementary treatments such as massage therapy may also be recommended in promoting healing blood flow to sprained ligaments.
Recovering from neck trauma
If you believe you’ve suffered from a neck strain or sprain, the time to seek professional medical care is now. The experienced team at Stability Health Center in Seattle, WA offers the assistance patients need to understand the nature of their cervical spine injuries. And, using a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach, we aim to provide targeted relief that helps the body recovery properly.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.