7 Pulled Neck Muscle Symptoms and Their Characteristics
The neck features a complex web of muscle ligaments, joints, bones, nerves, and tendons. It plays the critical role of holding your head in place. This is not an easy job, especially since a mature head weighs around five kilograms. Since your head is so heavy, the neck must be strong and pliable enough to carry the weight without the risk of injury or strain.
Since the head is constantly moving up, down, and sideways, the strain on the neck can be too much at times. This may result in pulled neck muscles, which makes turning your neck excruciatingly painful. Although the neck pain may slowly heal on its own, the discomfort can also persist for long periods of time. If you need pulled neck muscle help, consult with our Newmarket and Richmond Hill physiotherapy services to facilitate your recovery.
To identify this problem, here are seven pulled neck muscle symptoms and their characteristics:
1. Muscle ache symptoms
When your neck muscles are knotted, sore or tender, the result is a muscle ache in that area. Muscle aches are characterized by shooting pain from the middle of the back of your neck. The pain might possibly be localized on one side.
One of the main causes in neck muscle pain is overuse. For instance, spending long hours hunched in front of a smartphone can trigger these muscle aches. Gritting your teeth or reading in bed while hunched could also strain your neck, causing the muscles to ache. To minimize the muscle ache from happening, always correct your posture properly while sitting.
2. Muscle spasm symptoms
When you have a muscle spasm, moving your neck can be problematic. In extreme cases, these symptoms can develop into a wry or crick neck, or what is technically known as torticollis. A neck spasm may result from a sudden, involuntary, and powerful muscle contraction, leaving them knotted and feeling stiff.
A muscle spasm affects with the neck’s range of motion and interferes with the ability to turn your head. The solution to these pulled neck muscle symptoms is relaxation. Try to relax as much as you can, using gentle neck pain relief exercises to aid the recovery process.
3. Stiff neck symptoms
Stiffness is a common symptom when you have a pulled muscle in the neck. Your neck muscles are usually tight, so spending hours in a fixed position makes them feel even tighter. The problem with stiffness is that moving your neck can feel quite painful. When a neck is stiff, it also leads to soreness, making it even more difficult to move or turn your head.
Other potential symptoms of a stiff neck include arm pain, neck and shoulder pain, or a headache. Soft tissue strain, also known as muscle strain, is one of the leading causes for a stiff neck. The levator muscle, which is at the back and side of your neck, is highly susceptible to injury. This muscle links your shoulder with the neck’s cervical spine.
4. Nerve pain symptoms
A pulled neck muscle can manifest in the form of nerve pain. When this happens, you experience excruciating pain that radiates in the arms and occasionally in the legs. At other times, you may feel as if your arms are being pricked by needles and pins, or a tingling sensation that is accompanied by weakness, numbness, or burning.
This condition is known as a cervical radiculopathy, or commonly referred to as a pinched nerve. It is caused by an irritated or compressed neck at the point where it leaves the spinal cord. The pain may radiate into your arm or shoulder, causing numbness or muscle weakness.
5. Headache symptoms
If you have a persistent headache that is not responsive to painkillers, you most likely have a pulled neck muscle. These types of headaches are characterized by a dull ache as opposed to sharp pain. While you will most likely feel the headache at the back of your head, you may occasionally experience it in the sides or the front of your head.
Headaches induced by the pain from a pulled neck muscle are also known as cervicogenic headaches. They are caused by different neck conditions that trigger pain. Some of the neck conditions that cause headaches include whiplash injuries, a prolapsed disc, and osteoarthritis, among other degenerative diseases.
6. Limited range of motion
When you have a pulled muscle in the neck, you may suddenly experience a limited range of motion. This is because your head cannot turn to the sides like it used to. Another difficulty is that you may not be able lower your head forward or tilt your head backwards.
If you have a restricted range of motion, performing routine activities can be quite the challenge. This condition usually lasts anywhere from a day to two weeks, often accompanied by shoulder pain, arm pain, or headaches. When the symptoms persist for a long time, you need to see a chiropractor for further diagnosis.
7. Dizziness symptoms
If you suddenly start to feel dizzy, check to see whether you have neck pain. This may be the result of a pulled neck muscle, which is the condition you need to address to reduce the dizziness. When you are dizzy, you feel as though your head is floating or detached from the neck. In some cases, the dizziness could get worse when your neck is in motion. It may also be aggravated when you are standing, running, or lifting weights.