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Neck Strain (cont.)

Are There Home Remedies for Neck Strain?

If the pain is not severe and one does not have any new numbness, weakness, or other symptoms of nerve failure, mild neck strain can be safely treated at home.

  • If pain is moderate, bed rest may be necessary. A cervical collar may be beneficial.
  • It is helpful to place a small pillow under the nape of the neck to provide proper neutral positioning.
  • Dry or moist heat applied to the area often provides relief from pain caused by muscle spasm. However, it has not been shown to speed the healing process.
  • Pain control with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), is frequently helpful. An opioid, such as codeine, may be added if needed but will need to be prescribed by a doctor. Muscle relaxants are often used also. They are also available by prescription only.
  • One should guard against neck extension because this will make the pain worse. Stay active and perform one's daily work as tolerated, unless this involves heavy physical labor. Contact a doctor for recommendations.

What Is the Treatment for Neck Strain?

After the assessment of one's condition by a doctor, a plan will be formulated, in conjunction with the patient and his/her family, to treat the injuries. Consideration will be given to the length of time that might be involved for recovery. The vast majority of neck strains heal themselves with appropriate supportive self-care alone. Many people do not need specific medical intervention.

Rest and apply local heat for symptomatic relief, and gradually resume one's usual daily physical activity and work.

If pain lasts beyond two to three weeks, consideration should be given for further evaluation.

Osteopathic manipulative therapy (administered by a physician trained in manipulative medicine), chiropractic care, acupuncture, or an evaluation by a physical therapist should all be considered.

Several treatment plans are available for the person with persistent pain, including home cervical traction, under the direction of a doctor and physical therapist. Contact your doctor for a referral, as needed.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/3/2016

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