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First Aid & Emergencies

Neck Strain Treatment

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1. When to Seek Medical Care Immediately

See a doctor or go to a hospital emergency room if:

  • An accident caused neck strain.
  • Neck pain radiates down arms and legs.
  • Headaches, numbness, tingling, or weakness occur with the pain.

2. Ease Muscle Spasms

  • Apply dry or moist heat to the area.

3. Treat Pain

  • Give pain medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

4. Avoid Unnecessary Neck Strain

  • When the person is lying down, place a small pillow under the nape of the neck to align the head and neck.

5. Follow Up

  • See a doctor if pain doesn't get better or worsens.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on September 08, 2013

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