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Sports Medicine

I Fell and Hit My Head and Now my Neck Hurts

05/10/2005

Question:

I was cleaning out our above the ground pool and my feet went out from under me and I went straight down on my back of my head and my rear. I immediately got a headache that intensified as the night progressed, but the next morning the headache had subsided. After the I finished cleaning the pool I came in to take a shower and that is when I first noticed my neck (when I went to lean my head back in the shower to wash my hair) that evening it just seemed a little sore. The next morning (today) and throughout the day (now 5 p.m.) it is very sore and even in the front. I can`t move it side to side without pain - front to back is not as bad. But just sitting still hurts also. It feels like I have done some major excercise in my neck muscles for hours and now I`m paying for it. Is this something I should have looked at or should I just wait and see? Thanks so much!

Answer:

As in all cases of injury, it is difficult to offer advice without examining you.  If you are concerned about your injury, I would recommend that you see your family doctor about your symptoms.  However, given your history, it sounds like this is a classic "whiplash" injury with a strain of the muscles on the side and back of the neck.  You can expect symptoms to persist for several days up to several weeks and a small proportion of people will develop chronic symptoms.  If you develop symptoms of numbness or tingling in the arms or legs or weakness in the extremities, you should see a physician.

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Response by:

Charles Webster, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati