Neck Strain (cont.)
When to Seek Medical Care
If your symptoms do not go away as expected or if new symptoms appear, you should seek medical attention without delay.
- Call your doctor if you experience the following symptoms:
- Severe, unremitting neck pain
- Neck pain unaffected by changes in position or pain that is not controlled or if relief is not provided with appropriate medication
- Severe night neck pain
- Severe, persistent neck muscle spasms
- Inability to perform daily work or activities that you could do prior your illness
- In addition, symptoms suggesting possible injury to the vital structures contained in the neck should prompt early contact with your doctor. These may include the following:
- Tingling or loss of function particularly in the upper extremities
- Difficulty breathing
- Dizziness, headache, or nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears or decreased hearing
- If you are unable to reach your doctor, you should go to a hospital's emergency department without delay for evaluation of any of these types of problems.
- If you get sick or reinjured while your neck pain is present, you should contact your doctor.
You must seek immediate medical attention for any symptom suggesting a problem affecting the nervous system, airway, or spinal cord.
- Symptoms of spinal cord injury
- Bowel or bladder retention or incontinence, that is, inability to control the bowels or bladder
- Inability to urinate
- Leg weakness or any new inability to walk
- Poor balance
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Any other acute symptoms suggesting a nerve problem
- Evaluation by an orthopedist or neurosurgeon may be required to check for a condition requiring urgent surgical treatment.
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