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Most Common Types of Neck Injuries And How To Treat Them

Are you suffering from a literal pain in the neck? You aren’t alone. Various individuals experience pain from neck injuries across the globe. And there are many reasons neck injuries can happen. Below, we’ll explore the common types of neck injuries and how to treat a neck injury properly. Let’s take a look!

Common Types of Neck Injuries

Your neck is a complicated structure full of ligaments, muscles, tendons, nerves, joints and bones (called vertebrae). A neck injury can result from damage to any of these structures.

Check out the top 3 common types of neck injuries in the following sections:

  1. A Neck Strain or Sprain

A neck strain may result from overuse, such as hunching over your computer for too long or even from grinding your teeth. Whiplash is also a common neck strain injury. A strain happens when your muscles or tendons become pulled past their usual range. In severe cases, the muscle or tendon may tear. 

A sprain, on the other hand, is a pulled or torn ligament. Ligaments attach bone to bone, whereas tendons attach muscle to bone. However, the symptoms of these two injuries are very similar. You might feel pain when moving your neck and movement may be limited. Your neck may feel stiff and you could experience muscle spasms near or at the neck.

Ligament sprains in the neck could be very serious and require immediate evaluation, so be sure to reach out here if you need a diagnosis!


Usually, mild cases can be treated with ice application and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medication. Some individuals may also benefit from using a neck collar until the initial injury pain has subsided. 

What about how to treat a whiplash neck injury? Treatment for whiplash is very similar to any other neck strain or sprain injury. Rest, over-the-counter medication and ice can help your whiplash injury heal, as well as relieve the symptoms. Some individuals may also benefit from physiotherapy exercises and manual therapy strategies to ensure proper healing and minimize re-occurance. 

  1. A Herniated Disc

In-between each vertebrae of the spine lies intervertebral discs. These discs absorb shock and help reduce friction between the bones. However, these discs can rupture, sometimes creating pressure on a nerve in or near the spine. And this can happen in the neck as well. You may feel numbness, tingling, or burning down one arm. The limb may also appear weaker than usual.

Treatment often involves physiotherapy, ice application and rest. During your physiotherapy appointment, cervical traction may be used to relieve compression on the nerve by creating space in between the vertebrae joints.

  1. Cervical Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage at the joint becomes worn down. This naturally happens over time. Yet, some people may experience more severe forms of it due to obesity, lifestyle, or previous neck injuries. This type of neck injury is categorized by neck stiffness and an aching pain.


Like other neck injuries, rest, ice and physiotherapy are the go-to. Heat therapy may also help some individuals by alleviating neck pain and stiffness. People often ask: “Is there anything you can do for the arthritis, since you can’t take it away?” Yes! Through manual therapy and exercise, people often experience complete resolution of symptoms. 

What Else Should You Know?

What other things should you be aware of when it comes to neck injuries? Can a neck injury cause headaches? Can they lead to other issues or problems? 

In some instances, neck injuries may cause headaches. This can be from the muscles or other tissues pulling on the skull. Other complications that may occur include problems with dizziness, nausea, vision, balance, ringing in the ears and facial numbness. Many of these issues are rarely connected to the neck, which is why a proper physio evaluation is necessary! 

Contact ADM Today

Are you on the hunt for a physiotherapist to help with your neck injury? At ADM Physiotherapy in Ottawa, our team is ready to help you get back to feeling your best. Contact us today for more information and ask about our tele-health option where we can discuss over the phone or video chat!

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