By BruceBlaus - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44921287

The difference between a strain and a sprain is the type of connective tissues that are affected. A cervical strain is when muscles, or tendons, in your neck are overstretched. One type of strain is commonly known as "whiplash". Whiplash is when your neck is quickly "whipped" back and forth in a front and back motion. 

The pain from cervical strains may be sudden but can also begin hours after the injury has occurred. Cervical strains are often caused by:

  • Lifting
  • Straining
  • Contact Sports
  • Trauma

A cervical sprain is when ligaments in your neck are overstretched. Typically, sprains take longer to heal. They can take as little as 4 to 6 weeks, but can also linger for up to 3 months. A strain can heal within 1-3 days.