What causes a pulled neck muscle

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A pulled neck muscle is no laughing matter
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A variety of traumatic experiences can cause a pulled neck muscle

Experiencing a pulled neck muscle isn't for the faint of heart. The pain, stiffness and downright hassle of dealing with this injury is enough to cause serious stress and frustration. A variety of different events can cause this predicament, and knowing what they are may be able to help you avoid them.

Vehicle Accidents

Vehicle crashes can happen to the best of them, and one of the most common causes of injury to the neck is whiplash. This occurs when the impact causes your head -- and what's below -- to sway forwards and backwards in a fast motion.

Even if you have a high-quality seat installed in your vehicle, which contains proper support for your neck, you can still experience such an injury. 


The part of your body that supports your head and controls its movements gets used quite a bit. When you think about it, that crucial body part is called upon every time you want to look at something, bend over or do just about anything. Because of all this work, the muscles get tired and overused.

Looking up or down constantly definitely causes a lot of wear and tear, as does staring at a computer screen all day. And believe it or not, even grinding your teeth or reading in bed can cause trauma over a period of time. Just like other parts in your body, using one too much can cause it to experience serious pain and discomfort.

Sports Injuries

Just about any sport can cause a pulled neck muscle. Although you might expect the injury to occur from a contact sport such as football or hockey, it can also become injured through non-contact sports, as well.

Soccer players bounce the ball off of their heads, and they also often fall a lot. Either of these activities can cause a strain. Additionally, baseball and basketball players can also experience the issue just by moving their heads quickly.

It doesn't matter in which sport you compete, you are prone to experiencing this common and painful injury.


Although tendonitis doesn't cause this type of injury, it can contribute to its occurrence. Tendonitis is diagnosed when your tendons become extremely tight and stay that way. When you have this ailment, you are more likely to experience an injury in a traumatic situation.

For instance, if your tendons were nice and relaxed when you fell, you might not experience a problem. However, if they are tight and already in a state of anxiety, they are more likely to become hurt when you experience an accident or traumatic event.


The severity of your injury typically dictates what kind of treatment plan is devised. Visiting your doctor for an examination is always best, as she can also check for other injuries or issues, as well. She can also give you prescription pain medication if the kind you find over-the-counter isn't cutting it. 

Sometimes a heating pad or a hot, moist towel is all you need to start feeling better. The heat can cause your injuries to relax and ultimately feel better. After a few heat sessions, you may start to feel better.

More severe cases may require pain medication and physical therapy. Certain treatments can help your muscles relax and go back into their right places. Massages with topical pain ointment may also help your injury to heal. The ointment can work its way into your painful spots and encourage them to heal.

It may take some guess work as to what can make you feel better, but you'll likely find the best treatment and get back to your old self, soon. 


Mayo Clinic: Neck Pain

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