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Neck Strain (cont.)

Medications for Neck Strain

In most people with a neck strain, the acute phase of pain typically lasts only one to two weeks and may be helped by using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen. (It is important to note that NSAIDs should be avoided by any person with a history of peptic ulcer disease, gastrointestinal bleeding, or kidney disease, and that long-term use of these agents has been associated with kidney failure.) Typical over-the-counter preparations that could be used include the following:

  • Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin are brand name examples) taken with food three to four times daily as needed, for no longer than five days
  • Acetaminophen (such as the brand name Tylenol) taken every four to six hours, as needed, for no longer than three to five days of continued use
  • Naproxen sodium (Aleve is one brand name) taken with food every 12 hours, as needed, for no longer than five days of continued use

Other drugs may be offered by your doctor to treat pain when it is not controlled with over-the-counter remedies. They include a short course of corticosteroids such as prednisone, and opioid-containing pain relievers such as codeine, propoxyphene, and others. They are often used in combination with acetaminophen or, less commonly, with ibuprofen. As will all medications, side effects can occur; if taking any of these medications long term, you should discuss with your doctor and pharmacist the potential dangers associated with the medications.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/20/2014

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