Cervical strain is one of the most common musculoskeletal problems encountered by generalists and neuromusculoskeletal specialists in the clinic.
One cause of cervical strain is termed cervical acceleration-deceleration injury. This is frequently called whiplash injury.
Whiplash is the most common sequela of nonfatal car injuries. Whiplash is one of the most poorly understood disorders of the spine, and the severity of the trauma often is not correlated with the seriousness of the clinical problems (Riley, 1995). A history of neck injury is a significant risk factor for chronic neck pain (Croft, 2001). Pretorque of the head and neck increases facet capsular strains, supporting its role in the whiplash mechanism (Winkelstein, 2000).
The Quebec Taskforce on Whiplash-Associated Disorders has suggested the following system for classifying the severity of cervical sprains (Spitzer, 1995): 0 = no neck pain complaints, no physical signs; 1 = neck pain complaints, only stiffness or tenderness, no other physical signs; 2 = neck complaints and musculoskeletal signs (decreased range of motion [ROM] and point tenderness); 3 = neck complaints and neurologic signs (weakness, sensory and reflex changes); 4 = neck complaints with fracture and/or dislocation.
Synonyms and related keywords:
C-spine sprain, C-spine strain, acceleration/deceleration injury, acceleration-deceleration injury, cervical myofascial pain, cervical soft tissue pain syndrome, cervical sprain, cervicobrachial strain, chronic cervical sprain, chronic cervical strain, chronic neck sprain, chronic neck strain, extension-flexion injury, extension/flexion injury, flexion/-extension injury, flexion/extension injury, hyperflexion-hyperextension injury, hyperflexion/hyperextension injury, neck/shoulder girdle soft tissue injury, neck sprain, neck strain, regional soft tissue pain syndrome, WAD, whiplash-associated disorders, whiplash syndrome
Hunter & Freeman 2006