Neck Pain

The neck is a vulnerable part of the body and can be exposed to potentially harmful situations in several sporting activities. Common neck injuries include sprains and spasms; less common injuries included damage to the vertebrae and nerve damage.

Strains are usually quite painful and are generally caused by overuse or sudden movement; pain may be localised or may extend to the back and shoulders.

Spasms are often caused by overuse; they may also be a result of another injury. Spasms caused the muscles around the neck to harden, which can be painful.

Fractures of the vertebrae can be very serious and potentially life-threatening as they can cause damage to the spinal cord. This injury is most common in skiing, diving and cycling.

Nerve damage can cause a sudden sensation of pain running through the neck and into the shoulder. Most cases wear off after a few minutes.

Treating neck pain

Treatment depends on the nature and severity of the injury. Mild conditions can usually be treated with a combination of medication, rest and physiotherapy, while more serious conditions may require surgery or long periods of rest and rehabilitation. It is important not to rush recovery due to the fragility of the neck and the potential harm further damage may cause.

Preventing neck pain

Many professional sports players wear protective headgear to prevent injuries to the head and neck; this is particularly common in rugby. It is important to warm up and cool down thoroughly before and after participating in physical exercise.

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