Minor injuries in the neck may cause pain that can be felt immediately or after several hours. This may get worse over the first 24-48 hours but gradually improves, although the speed of recovery can vary. X-ray is not always necessary for the assessment of your injury.
• Take regular painkillers e.g., Paracetamol
• During the first 48 hours use crushed ice wrapped in a damp towel placed around the back of the neck (if tolerated) for 10-15 minutes, 3-4 times per day.
• After 48 hours use a warm damp towel/hot water bottle wrapped in a towel placed over the neck for the same duration as above.
• Maintain good posture at all times, avoid slouching.
Getting the normal movement back is very important. Here are some exercises to help you:
1. Keep your lower back straight, draw yourself up straight with your chin tucked in. repeat 10 times every hour.
2. Straighten up - try to touch each ear down onto your shoulder.
3. Straighten up - now try looking round over each shoulder in turn.
Your exercises might be painful initially but will not harm your neck.
Repeat the exercises as often as possible.
1. Do not sleep with more pillows than is necessary.
2. Avoid lying on your stomach as this places strain on the neck.
3. You can support your neck in bed by making a firm roll with a towel and placing this under the hollow in your neck (Picture 1).
4. Alternatively, squeeze the middle of a soft pillow to make a bow-tie shape and place your neck in the centre (Picture 2).
Start your day with your exercises to relieve stiffness.
Look after your POSTURE when sitting, driving, reading and standing.
BAD posture will delay your recovery.
If you feel that your neck pain is no better after 10 days, please contact
the Physiotherapy Outpatient Department on:
0191 273 6666 ext. 22342 for further advice.