Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist Home Care pain in adults pain in children warning signs Prevention Outlook Complications Underlying Cause Types Anatomy

Sprained Neck Home Care

Home care for neck sprain or strain includes:

  • Apply a cold compress:
    • Wrap ice in a moist hand towel. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours, for the first few days.
  • Apply warm compresses:
    • Wait at least three days following the injury to use warm compresses.
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours.
  • Rest your neck.
  • Avoid activities that cause neck pain.
  • After 2-3 days, start:
    • Neck stretching exercises
    • Neck range of motion exercises
  • Maintain good posture.
  • Acetaminophen for pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
  • Take prescribed medications as directed:
    • Don't skip doses of your medication. This makes them less effective.
    • Be aware of the common side effects that may be caused by your medication.

Sprained Neck Pain in Adults

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with neck sprain or strain include:

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.





NSAID Precautions

Sprained Neck Pain in Children

Common medications used at home for pain in children with neck sprain or strain include:

Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.



Sprained Neck Warning Signs

Continue to Sprained Neck Prevention

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Sprained Neck References
  1. Croft AC, Herring P, Freeman MD, Haneline MT. The neck injury criterion: future considerations. Accid Anal Prev. 2002 Mar;34(2):247-55. [11829295]
  2. Hoffman JR, Wolfson AB, Todd K, Mower WR. Selective cervical spine radiography in blunt trauma: methodology of the National Emergency X-Radiography Utilization Study (NEXUS). Ann Emerg Med. 1998 Oct;32(4):461-9. [9774931]
  3. Joslin CC, Khan SN, Bannister GC. Long-term disability after neck injury. a comparative study. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2004 Sep;86(7):1032-4. [15446533]
  4. Kasch H, Stengaard-Pedersen K, Arendt-Nielsen L, Staehelin Jensen T. Headache, neck pain, and neck mobility after acute whiplash injury: a prospective study. Spine. 2001 Jun 1;26(11):1246-51. [11389391]
  5. Kerr D, Bradshaw L, Kelly AM. Implementation of the Canadian C-spine rule reduces cervical spine x-ray rate for alert patients with potential neck injury. J Emerg Med. 2005 Feb;28(2):127-31. [15707805]
  6. McIntosh AS, McCrory P. Preventing head and neck injury. Br J Sports Med. 2005 Jun;39(6):314-8. Review. [15911597]
  7. Nederhand MJ, Hermens HJ, IJzerman MJ, Turk DC, Zilvold G. Chronic neck pain disability due to an acute whiplash injury. Pain. 2003 Mar;102(1-2):63-71. [12620597]
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