Neck sprain

Neck sprain is the medical term used to describe the type of lesion that is produced in the cervical spine during a traffic accident.
A sprain is produced when the ligaments that join the bones suffer a torsion and or a stretch due to the abrupt movement (whiplash) of the neck.

Pre and post x-ray showing the correction of a cervical sprain (left) into a normal cervical lordosis (right) after treatment.

That destabilization of the injured ligaments is more common in the upper cervical spine (occiput, atlas and axis) due to its anatomical flexibility and fragility. Those first two vertebraes are not fixed with an intervertebral disc.  Discs, used in the rest of the spine, are stronger but allow much less movement.
When the spine and specially, its upper cervical area (atlas and axis) is destabilized and misaligned, the vertebral subluxation complex (as known by chiropractors) begins to form.
Vertebral subluxations or neck sprain may produce several health problems.
Neck sprain may be classified in a scale, depending on the level of  harm produced.
The diagnosis of neck sprain is realized through different procedures such as physical and neurological examination, x-ray films, MRI, etc.

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