A neck sprain is one of those injuries you can suffer at any time. Regardless of your profession, from a secretary to a construction worker, this injury could creep into your life when you least expect it.
While the primary symptom of a neck sprain is pain that worsens with movement, there are others that could come into play. These include:
- Numbness in the arms and/or hands
- Ringing in the ears
It’s easy to believe you can treat these symptoms at home on your own, but, without a medical evaluation, you’ll never truly understand the extent of your injury. You could assume you have a neck sprain, but, in actuality, you’re dealing with something much more serious.
Diagnosis of a neck sprain
In addition to a physical exam, your doctor may run a variety of tests to better understand your injury. These typically include a CT scan, MRI and X-ray.
During your exam, you can expect your doctor to check:
- Range of motion in your neck and arms
- Muscle strength in your neck and arms
- Ability to detect sensations
- Your reflexes
Treatment of a neck sprain
If your medical team diagnoses you with a neck sprain, it’s then time to learn more about the best type of treatment. While this depends largely on your condition and level of pain, these treatments are typically used:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Muscle relaxants
- Ice for the first 24 hours after the injury
- Moist heat treatment after 24 hours
Also, your doctor may want you to see a physical therapist to partake in range of motion exercises.
If your condition doesn’t improve after receiving initial treatment, discuss your options with your doctor. They may want to run additional tests to see if something else is causing your pain.
Depending on your job responsibilities, you may not be able to immediately return to work after a neck sprain. For example, if you’re a mover who lifts heavy objects all day, doing so with a neck sprain is a big mistake.
If you’re unable to immediately return to work, file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. This doesn’t do anything for your pain, but it does take a lot of financial stress off your back.