We will gladly work with your Work Comp insurance or attorney and provide top notch care and documentation in order to ensure a smooth process the entire time. Being in pain and not working is tough on everyone, so our goal is to restore you to your pre-injury status as soon as possible so that you can move on from you accident.
The cervical spine, or neck, is made up of seven bones stacked on top of each other with a shock-absorbing disc between each level. Your neck is relatively flexible so it relies on muscles and ligaments for support. When these tissues are stretched too hard or too far, sprains and strains result - like a rope that frays when stretched beyond its normal capacity. The term “sprain” means that the tough, durable ligaments that hold your bones together have been damaged, while a “strain” indicates the muscles or tendons that move your neck have been partially torn. Auto accidents and sports injuries are the leading causes of neck sprains and strains. Other less traumatic activities like reaching, pushing, pulling, moving heavy objects and falls can also trigger problems. Sprains and strains are normally not the result of any single event but rather from repeated overloading. Tendons and ligaments generally manage small isolated stressors quite well, but repetitive challenges lead to injury - much the same way that constantly bending a piece of copper wire will cause it to break. Less acute types of cervical sprain/strain injuries include:
- Bad posture or a poor workstation.
- Repetitive movements or prolonged overhead activity.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Improper sleep position, poor bra support or obesity.
Symptoms from a sprain or strain commonly develop gradually rather than abruptly. Complaints often include dull neck pain that becomes sharper with head movement. Rest may relieve the symptoms but often leads to stiffness. The pain is generally centered in the back of the neck but can spread to the shoulders or between the shoulder blades. It is common for tension headaches to accompany neck injuries. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any signs of a more serious injury, including:
- A severe or “different” headache.
- Loss of consciousness, confusion or “fogginess” or difficulty concentrating.
- Dizziness, slurred speech or difficulty swallowing.
- Change in vision, nausea or vomiting.
- Numbness or tingling in your arms or face, weakness or clumsiness in your arms and hands.
- Decreased bowel/bladder control or fever.
Sprain/strain injuries replace your normal healthy elastic tissue with less elastic “scar tissue,” a process that can lead to ongoing pain and even arthritis. Seeking early and appropriate treatment, like the type provided in our office, is critical. Depending upon the severity of your injury, you may need to temporarily limit your activity - especially movements or activities that cause pain. Avoid heavy lifting and take frequent breaks from prolonged activity, particularly overhead activity. Following acute injuries, apply ice for 10-15 minutes each hour. After several days heat may be helpful or for more chronic types of pain. Ask your doctor for specific ice/heat recommendations. Some patients report partial relief from sports-creams.