Neck strains and sprains are often commonly referred to as whiplash. In both conditions, the injury is usually caused by an impact or blow to the body that causes your head to jerk further than it should in one direction or another. Neck strains are tears in the tendons and muscles within your neck. Neck sprains occur when your ligaments, or the fibers that connect your bones to one another, tear. Both neck conditions can be very painful and can cause long-term discomfort if not appropriately treated.
Neck strain symptoms and neck sprain symptoms are usually the same. After either injury, the neck is painful, stiff, and tender. Your neck will feel tender, and turning your head might make the pain worse. If the injury is severe, you may not be able to turn your head due to stiffness and pain. The muscles in the neck may feel knotted and swollen.
There are a number of physical therapy remedies to help ease the pain of whiplash. Wearing a neck brace allows the neck to rest, pain medications will help to reduce the pain, and neck exercises will help rebuild the strength and mobility of your neck. These remedies can be helpful, but for many, they are not enough to completely eradicate the pain of a neck injury.