Font Size

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:
    • Weakness
    • Numbness
    • 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
    • Vertigo
    • Dizziness
    • 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.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/20/2014

Must Read Articles Related to Neck Strain

Whiplash Whiplash is a nonmedical term used to describe neck pain following an injury to the soft tissues of your neck (specifically ligaments, tendons, and muscles).learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Neck Strain:

Neck Strain - Treatment

What was the treatment for your neck strain?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Cervical Sprain and Strain »

Cervical strain is one of the most common musculoskeletal problems encountered by generalists and neuromusculoskeletal specialists in the clinic.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary