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Neurosciences and Behavioral Health Center

Neck Sprains and Strains

Neck sprains and strains are similar but different soft tissue disorders.

A sprain is an injury to a ligament caused by overuse or trauma. Whiplash is a common type of sprain often referred to as a hyperextension and hyperflexion injury. A strain is an injury to a tendon or muscle caused by overuse or trauma. Muscle pain that develops from cradling the phone between the ear and shoulder is an example of a strain. 

Both sprains and strains can cause:

  • Severe pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling

Whiplash can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Jaw pain 

Diagnosing & Treatment

Your doctor will ask your medical history and perform a physical exam. Your doctor may also order diagnostic tests that include:

  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRI scans 

Many different nonsurgical treatments can help relieve neck sprain or strain symptoms. 

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT

Call 434.243.3633.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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