Your neck is a complicated structure, and there are a variety of common injuries it is susceptible to. They can be mild or they can be severe, but they’re all a pain in the neck! Here’s a list of some of the more common neck injuries.
Kink in the Neck
You know the drill for this one. You go to bed and wake up with a little “crick” in your neck after sleeping in an awkward position. They can also be from working on the computer for a long time or sudden movements of your neck. No doctor or chiropractor is every going to give you an official diagnosis of a “kink in the neck”. Usually the discomfort you feel is due to muscle spasm, trigger points or arthritis, and maybe even a disc problem. If the pain lasts longer than a week you should see a chiropractor about it.
A strain is an injury to muscles that move the spine. They can happen in the neck, but more often happen in the lower back. Bending over at the waist when lifting a heavy object is the most common way to cause a muscle strain. The symptoms for this include muscle spasm, reduced flexibility and pain. If this type of pain lasts longer than a week or interrupts your usual activities, see your chiropractor.
Sprains are injuries to ligaments, which are the bands of connective tissue that hold your bones together. These types of injuries can be caused by falls or sudden twists that overload or overstretch the joint. Repeated stress to the joint can also cause a sprain. If you get a sprain you will have swelling, reduced flexibility and pain. A sprain can mild, moderate or severe. If you think that you or someone you come into contact with has a neck sprain it can be very serious. Mild and moderate sprains may not need to be checked out by a chiropractor or other medical professional, but severe sprain absolutely requires it.
An injury in which your head is thrown back and then quickly forward, like in an automobile accident, can cause whiplash. This even may result in a strain or sprain of your neck, but it can also damage discs and joints, which may then irritate nerve roots and even the spinal cord itself. If you have a whiplash injury, see your chiropractor as soon as symptoms begin, which can be a couple days after the incident that caused the injury.
If you think of your discs in your back like jelly donuts, when a disc herniates all the jelly comes out. If the “jelly” lands on a nerve root this can cause some serious pain, though you may also feel weakness, numbness or pins and needles down your arm.