Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ


I'm on my third day after a rear-end collision. What's the best way to treat the neck pain I'm having?


You didn't mention if you had an X-ray to rule out fracture or other bony injury. Assuming you have the usual soft tissue injury from a whiplash, here are a few tips.

There isn't one treatment known to work best for painful symptoms after a whiplash. Research supports an early return to regular activities. Pain relief can be obtained from the use of over-the-counter or prescribed pain relievers.

Ice is often advised in the first 36 to 48 hours. Cold may help keep the swelling down. Some experts suggest alternating cold and heat during the subacute phase from day three to day 14.

A soft-collar may be used during the first few days. The idea is to rest the head and neck muscles during the early healing phase. Longer use of a collar isn't usually recommended. Movement is much better to help with the healing process.

Robert J. Brison, MD, FRCPC, et al. A Randomized Controlled Trial of an Educational Intervention to Prevent the Chronic Pain of Whiplash Associated Disorders Following Rear-End Motor Vehicle Collisions. In Spine. August 15, 2005. Vol. 30. No. 16. Pp. 1799-1807.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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