Cervical Spine Sprain/Strain
The cervical spine (neck) begins at the base of the skull and is made up of seven vertebrae (spinal bones) labelled C1-7 which connect to the thoracic spine (upper back). A cervical sprain or strain refers to damage of the soft tissue structures that surround the cervical spine. A sprain refers to an injury of a ligament while a strain refers to an injury of a muscle. Sprains and strains typically occur due to injury such as whiplash, following a motor vehicle accident or a fall, direct trauma or due to repetitive overuse of the area without adequate recovery time or prolonged poor posture. This causes overstretching and possible tearing of the ligaments and/or muscle fibres. Cervical sprain and strain injuries present as sudden, sharp pain in the neck, point tenderness, reduced range of motion and/or a pain that travels down into the shoulder, arm, or upper back. They may also be associated with headaches and migraines.