What does a torn neck muscle mean?
Torn muscles, also called muscle strains, result when a muscle is overstretched. It often occurs due to:
- An injury, such as whiplash after a car accident
- Not warming up before strenuous physical activity
- Lifting a heavy object incorrectly, a slip or fall, repetitive movement of muscles (such as rowing, playing football), or sitting in an awkward position for an extended period
- A torn neck muscle may feel like a sharp, stabbing pain in the neck area.
- You may have a limited range of motion or feel a dull, achy pain in the neck area.
- Other common symptoms of a torn neck muscle include localized swelling, soreness, stiffness, or weakness.
A badly torn neck muscle will likely make it very difficult to move your head and result in severe pain. A mild tear or strain may be stiff for a few days and resolve on its own. Depending on the severity of your neck injuries, the doctor may suggest the following treatment options:
- A soft collar or halo immobilizes the neck to allows the muscles to heal.
- Physical therapy to correct your posture and alignment and help strengthen the muscle.
- Electrical nerve stimulation, which delivers mild electrical pulses to the area. This may help reduce the amount of pain you experience.
- Traction, a treatment that uses weights and pulleys to stretch your neck and relieve the pain.
- Medication, such as steroid or lidocaine injections, to relieve pain.
- In serious cases of torn neck muscles, surgical options may be considered. Factors that may impact your treatment include age, general health, the cause of the injury, and whether any vertebrae were damaged.