Cervical sprain/strain occurs when the neck is moved in any one direction too rapidly, stretching it beyond a comfortable limit, resulting in small tears of muscle fibers and spasms. The most common cause is a low- to mid-level trauma, which causes the neck’s muscles, ligaments and tendons to stretch to an extreme position. In most cases, pain is resolved in less than one month.
You may feel pain from both the injured soft tissue itself and the adjacent nerve, which can radiate through the shoulder, arms, and hands. Cervical sprain symptoms and signs typically include (may include one or more):
- Neck, mid back, or shoulder pain
- Pain worsens with movement, especially turning to the side
- Poor range of motion