Understanding The Difference Between Muscle Strains And Sprains
If you have been involved in a car accident, then you may experience a painful neck injury, especially if your air bag erupts and the accident was a high-impact one. There are two different types of neck injuries you are likely to experience. These include neck sprains and neck strains. Keep reading to understand the difference between these two injuries and also what a medical professional may do for you to treat the problem.
What Are Neck Strains?
A neck strain is one of the most common neck injuries that can occur during a car accident. Neck strains are typically called whiplash and happen when the neck suddenly jerks forward and back. This type of movement usually stretches the soft tissues across the front and back of the neck.
Soft tissue injuries occur at the base of the neck, along the back, and also across the base of the skull or neck, along the front of the body. There are two ligaments in these areas called the nuchal ligament and the anterior longitudinal ligament. These ligaments, along with the numerous deep muscle tissues, are the ones that are likely to become damaged. However, damage is limited to stretching and inflammation in most cases.
How Are Neck Strains Treated?
Stretched muscles and ligaments can be treated with NSAID pain relievers, muscle relaxers, and ice packs. In some cases, whiplash injuries can result in the movement of spinal vertebrae and partial joint dysfunction. When this happens, a chiropractor can help to align the vertebrae properly, and they can also assist with inflammation reduction. Spinal adjustments can also assist with reestablishing the alignment of spinal discs so the neck vertebrae can absorb shock once again.
Before spinal adjustments can be completed, a chiropractor will need to x-ray the neck and look for serious issues like disc herniation. This problem occurs when the fluid inside the spinal disc forces its way out of its casing or core, and it can happen with whiplash. Herniated discs typically require surgical intervention, but a chiropractor can manipulate the disc gently to keep it from pressing on spinal nerves. This can greatly reduce discomfort.
What Are Neck Sprains?
Neck sprains are different from whiplash injuries, and they are actually more severe. When a sprain occurs, the ligaments and muscles in the neck tear and rip instead of becoming stretched. This causes more pain and soreness in the neck than what occurs with a simple strain. Also, you are likely to experience a very limited range of movement and more swelling around the neck. While your physician may use touch to investigate inflammation and muscle spasms, advanced scans may be needed to determine whether or not soft tissues are torn.
If a sprain is detected, then you will most likely require a neck brace to keep the upper spine immobile while you heal. This allows the tissue tears to repair themselves.
How Are Sprains Treated?
There are a wide variety of treatments that are typically needed to assist with neck sprains. Pain relievers, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, ultrasound treatments, and heat therapy may all be included in your treatment plan. You can also see a chiropractor for therapy. The professional may not be able to perform full adjustments while the tissues are starting to heal, but they can be completed once swelling reduces and tissues start to rebuild across the neck.
Spinal adjustments after a sprain can help to increase blood flood to the area. This helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to the site so it can start to heal properly. Spinal adjustments can also help with increasing the range of neck movement and reducing inflammation by making sure that misaligned vertebrae are not pushing on injured muscles and ligaments in the region.
For more information, contact a chiropractor at a location like Smith Chiropractic.