Neck Strain


Neck strain is an injury to the soft tissue of your neck, specifically the muscles, tendons and ligaments that keep the bones of your neck in place. If any of these soft tissues are injured, your neck can move out of place, causing pain.

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Neck Pain Causes

Neck strain results from several different causes:

  • Overexertion: Straining your muscles can lead you to “pull” a muscle, which results in tiny tears in the muscle fibers. Overexertion can also lead to neck strain if you are carrying heavy loads on one side of your body.
  • Injury: If you fall or are in an accident, your tendons, ligaments or muscles in the back can be strained, torn or inflamed by the sudden movement. Whiplash is the most common injury to cause neck strain.
  • Poor posture: Slumping or hunching over can put pressure on the muscles or cause knots to form in the muscles of the neck, which affect their ability to hold the bones of the neck in place.

Neck Strain Symptoms

  • Neck ache
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of range-of-motion


The first step toward a diagnosis is a physical exam by one of our neck pain specialists.


Coastal Spine has various neck strain treatments, including:

  • Physical therapy: Often, neck strain can be treated by strengthening the muscles of the neck, back and core through physical therapy and exercise. To help relieve pain, Coastal Spine treatments include stretching exercises.
  • Medication: We may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxers to reduce neck strain symptoms.
  • Cervical collar: We may immobilize the neck through the support of a cervical collar for two to three weeks to allow the soft tissue of the neck to heal.
  • Injections: We may also administer cortisone trigger point injections to relieve pain.
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