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Neck Strain (cont.)

Are There 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 (Tylenol). (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 taken every four to six hours, as needed, for no longer than three to five days of continued use
  • Naproxen sodium (Aleve) taken with food every 12 hours, as needed, for no longer than five days of continued use

Other drugs may be offered by a 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 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, one should discuss with a doctor and pharmacist the potential dangers associated with the medications.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/3/2016

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