Apply ice or cold packs for 15 to 20 minutes,
3 or 4 times a day or up to once an hour for the first 24 to 48 hours. Cold
decreases swelling and pain. Keep a towel between your skin and the ice to
frostbite. Do not fall asleep with the ice on your
Try ice massage. Massage the painful area with ice for 2 to 7
minutes, long enough to numb the pain. Ice frozen in a foam cup works well. Be
careful not to damage your skin (frostbite).
Gently massage or rub the area to relieve pain and
encourage blood flow. Do not massage the injured area if it causes
After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply
heat. Use a warm pack or heating pad set on low. Some
experts recommend switching back and forth between heat and cold treatments.
You also can begin gentle exercise with the aid of moist heat to help restore
and maintain flexibility.
Continue with your usual daily
activities unless you have severe neck and back pain. Modify or avoid any
activity that makes your pain worse.
posture. Avoid slouching or a head-forward
When sleeping, place a small support pillow under your
neck, not under your head.
When the pain begins to get better,
neck exercises. Do each exercise twice a day, 5 times
each, and gradually increase to 10 times each. Do not do any exercises that
If tension is contributing to your neck pain,
massage may be helpful.
Do not smoke. Smoking slows healing because it decreases blood
supply and delays tissue repair. For more information, see the topic
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your fever or pain:
Aspirin (also a nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drug), such as Bayer or Bufferin
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Be sure to follow these
safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
Carefully read and follow all directions
on the medicine bottle and box.