Neck Strain

A neck strain is a muscle injury of the neck.  A neck strain is quite a common injury and generally is a mild to moderate injury which clears by itself within a few days to a week.

Symptoms of a Neck Strain

  • Pain in the neck area.
  • Pain on turning the head or looking up or down.
  • A stiff neck.
  • A feeling of tightness in the muscles of the neck.
  • There may be a tender area of muscle when you touch it.
  • You may experience pain or tingling into the arms.

What is a Neck Strain?

A muscle strain is a tear of some of the muscle fibres. This may be just a few, in which case it is a grade one strain, or may be up to 90% of the muscles fibres, which would ge a grade 2 injury. A full muscle rupture is a grade 3 injury, this doesn't often happen in the neck and isn't generally described as a neck strain.

The muscles which are most commonly injured include Trapezius {popart icon="fa-search" article="637" popwidth="500px" popheight="600px"} and Levator Scapulae.{/popart}

A neck strain is often the result of a sudden movement or force to the head or neck. This may happen from a fall or a car accident and is often referred to as whiplash. Similar pain in one or more of the neck muscles may also occur after holding an awkward position for a prolonged period, such as holding a phone between the ear and shoulder, or sleeping awkwardly (e.g. sitting upright).


  • Rest from whatever activity caused it or anything that aggravates it.
  • Try to keep the neck moving gently by twisting the head and looking up and down.
  • Gently stretch the neck muscles.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended to you by a health professional.
  • Apply ice if the injury happened from a sudden incident. 15 minutes at a time every 2-4 hours for the first 24-48 hours.
  • After 48 hours, a warm pack can be used to relax the muscles and increase blood flow.
  • Massage may also be helpful after the first 48 hours to stretch the muscles.
  • If symptoms do not improve within a week, visit your Doctor.

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