High Impact Collisions
THE NECK connects the head to the rest of the body. Super important job. It is strong enough to hold the weight of your head, while flexible enough to move around.
The vertebrae stabilize the neck. The discs between the vertebrae add cushion and absorb the shock of movement to the spine. The surrounding muscles support the neck and spine.
Impact to the body puts wear and tear on the muscles, tissues and nerves of the neck. Jolts from things like contact sports, car accidents, and even intense roller coasters can damage the neck.
What’s The Big Deal?
The force of a high impact collision sends your body forward, leading while your head trails behind then snaps forward. This whip action forces the muscles in the front and back of the neck to stretch passed their normal range of motion, causing strain, sprain, pinched nerves and/or damaged joint capsules.
The brain tells those overly-stretched muscles, which are responsible for supporting and stabilizing the neck and head, to stop working. To compensate, the other surrounding muscles engage and spasm. This is where the stiffness comes in.
Symptoms To Look For:
- Pain that doesn’t go away
- Intense pain
- Shooting pain in your arms or legs
- Numbness or tingling down your arm
What Can You Do?
When you feel stiff, your reaction is to stretch. Stretching and bringing movement into the neck is definitely helpful but strengthening the muscles will provide the fastest and most effective recovery.
For starters, place your hand on your forehead and press your head against it. This is a safe way to begin re-strengthening the strained and stressed.
Taking ibuprofen or similar pain relievers will relieve some of the pain symptoms, but it won’t address the root issue of the pain. Mild neck injuries can sometimes heal themselves, but they often develop into more serious issues. It is always best to get a medical evaluation so you can make the best decision for your long-term health.