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Teri Lou, November 9 2022

Neck Injury Treatment

Learn the Proper Treatment for Common Neck Injuries

The neck controls a large portion of your body and can injure easily. When you experience an injury, it is important to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis and a better chance at a full recovery. Furthermore, with treatment, you can reduce pain, prevent recurrences, and get back to your normal life sooner.  

What are the different types of neck injuries? 

Neck injuries can come from various different sources, and the treatment for each can vary greatly. First, car accidents can cause the head to be thrown back and forth, which can damage ligaments, muscles, and even neck nerves. Second, sports can cause injuries to the neck, as can falls. 

Additionally, stress, poor posture, including when sleeping, and arthritis can cause neck injury. Pinched nerves from bone spurs or herniated disks can cause numbness and tingling even down the neck and into the arms and hands. Illnesses like meningitis and cancer can cause neck pain too. 

Furthermore, people can experience whiplash, sprains, strains, disk injury, vertebral fractures, and spinal cord damage. All of these can cause damage to the neck along with pain, discomfort, and limited mobility of the neck. A few other complicated diseases can cause neck problems but are quite rare. 

Can a neck injury heal on its own?

Smaller neck issues like sprains or strains can heal on their own in a few days with the proper treatment. Pain during the healing process can vary from mild to severe, but if it does not subside in a few days, then you need to talk to your doctor. Worse injuries can take weeks to recover, like whiplash. 

It's important to ice and heat the neck along with stretching to help reduce the swelling and help with pain. Therapeutic massage can help to promote healing as well as some homeopathic treatments like acupuncture. Rest and relaxation can promote healing too by preventing straining. 

However, if the problem gets worse even with self-care or continues for weeks, it's time to see a doctor. Moreover, if the pain radiates down your arms or legs or causes headaches, numbness, or tingling. In the event of a traumatic accident, call emergency services. Also, keep in mind if you experience muscle weakness or high fever, seek help immediately. 

Do you need physical therapy after a neck injury?

Physical therapy may be necessary for neck injuries. In addition, lingering chronic pain may require physical therapy to restore full ability. Also, whiplash and other issues that cause damage to soft tissues and joints may require therapy to return to normal function. 

As neck problems can lead to difficulty in performing day-to-day tasks, but physical therapy allows movement experts to improve your quality of life. When home remedies are not working, invest in yourself and actively participate in your own recovery with physical therapy. Also, therapy can prevent neck injuries from reoccurring. 

Physical therapy can help to relieve stiffness, strengthen the area, and restore normal function. Along with other complementary therapies, you can feel better than before. Consider deep tissue massage, electrical stimulation, chiropractic care, and ultrasound to help with your recovery.

Should you massage a pulled neck muscle?

You should not massage a pulled neck muscle yourself as this can cause further damage. Instead, you need therapeutic massage designed for injuries administered by professionals with the proper training. However, you can lightly massage the area unless it hurts.

Seeking medical attention is the best option to prevent further problems. Timing for massage matters as it can relieve neck pain, but you have to wait until the right stage of recovery. Once the pain part of recovery diminishes, you can move on to massage as a therapeutic remedy for repair. 

How long does it take to heal from a neck sprain?

A neck sprain means a ligament or muscle in the neck were stretched past their ability. Worse, they can happen without any visible injury. A sprain can even occur from a sudden impact and then snap back in place; that's whiplash. However, the sprain can cause dizziness, ringing in the ears, fatigue, and numbness in the arms and hands. 

Treatment of a neck sprain includes anti-inflammatory meds, ice for the first day and then heat, and finally, muscle relaxants. With proper treatment and rest, the sprain should get better in about two weeks. People who do not recover in the two-week time frame may need anesthetic injects. Full recovery should occur within three months. If your symptoms persist, contact your doctor for more treatment options. 

It's best to seek your doctor's expertise for a thorough examination. With a checkup, you can ensure you have the correct diagnosis for a thorough treatment plan. Keep in mind the neck has over 20 muscles connected to the neck. Each of these muscles helps to support your head, neck, jaw, upper back, and shoulders. A proper diagnosis will ensure you can continue to utilize all the functions you need for a comfortable life. 

How long does it take to heal from a torn ligament in the neck?

A torn neck ligament is called a neck sprain, and the treatment is the same as with other sprains. Often, a neck strain is called a pulled neck muscle. Often the terms neck sprain, strain, and pulled muscle are used interchangeably. However, a sprain is an injury to a ligament; a strain involves a muscle or tendon. However, the treatments are quite similar, as are the outcomes.

What types of neck injuries require surgery?

Surgery on the neck is reserved as an option only when all other options have failed. The first approaches always involve medicine, rest, and physical therapy because surgery comes with far more risks, and it's not a guarantee that neck surgery will help. If successful, neck surgery can provide pain relief. 

Doctors will consider surgery when a nerve root that's pinched by bone spurs causes problems. The vast majority of patients with a herniated disk removed enjoy complete recovery and relief from pain. Surgery can also help to remove pressure from the spinal cord due to bone spurs called spinal stenosis. It's complex surgery with a varying rate of success depending on the factors. 

Lastly, surgery may be performed to prevent vertebrae from grinding together as a result of degenerative disk disease, which can lead to neck pain and pinched nerves. The most common surgery for necks involves dealing with nerve pinching from herniated disks. 

How long does it take to heal after neck surgery?

After neck surgery, you will need to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. You can expect the recovery process to take between four and six weeks before you can return to light activities. However, a full recovery will take between two and three months. This time frame should include starting physical therapy. The time frame can change depending on physical therapy and your unique situation. 

Many factors can affect recovery from neck surgery, including age, health, and lifestyle. To speed up recovery, you can make sure to rest and follow the doctor's orders. Physical therapy should not be viewed as optional as it's an essential element to your recovery. 

Staying hydrated and maintaining a healthy diet can help to oxygenate your body and give you all the nutrients your body needs to help you recover. Additionally, you need to keep the surgical site clean and dry to avoid infection. Next, follow your doctor's recommendations for light exercise to help get back into living slowly to allow your body to recover. 

Do not rush your recovery and accept that you will have some short-term limitations. These limitations will only last a short time but can dramatically affect healing from neck surgery. You can anticipate not being able to drive or work for at least a few weeks, along with other limitations. As with all surgery, you can anticipate some side effects as well, which your doctor will be able to tell you about as they can be different for every person or surgery. 

How do you strengthen your neck after injury treatment?

Physical therapy offers the best method of strengthening your neck after injury and recovery. Allowing your body to heal is definitely the best way to strengthen your neck. You can also practice some different neck movements you will learn in therapy to help recover full range of movement and reduce stiffness. 

Another idea to help strengthen your neck is to invest in a good pillow designed for neck support. Proper sleep in the right position can reduce recurrence and neck pain. As you spend between 6 to 8 hours on your bed every night, make those hours count with the proper support to reduce discomfort in your awake hours. 

Why choose Portland Urgent Care for neck injury treatment?

Portland Urgent Care utilizes both western and eastern therapies to help reduce neck pain. In addition, we have several medical specialists on staff, including a chiropractor at the clinic Portland Wellness Care, to help manage back pain and other issues. When you come to our urgent care, you will get a recovery plan tailored to your needs and situation. 

We offer same-day appointments and walk-ins to help get you feeling better. We integrate with Portland Wellness Care for massage to sports medicine and more, we can help make your life more comfortable by encouraging your body to work correctly. Call Portland Urgent Care today and schedule an appointment with one of our medical professionals to start your recovery journey. 

Neck injuries can make life uncomfortable, but Portland Urgent Care and Portland Wellness Care are  here to help you recover with several treatment options and a personalized recovery plan. Proper treatment can help to prevent further issues. Call today and schedule an appointment so you can get back to living.

For more information on injuries, see our related blogs:

Common Causes & Effects of Neck Injuries

Types of Back Injuries

How Do You Know If Your Back Injury Is Serious?

Types of Ankle Injuries

Common Types & Causes of Knee Injuries

How To Treat & Recover From Knee Injuries

Wrist Ligament Injuries

Wrist Injuries Causes & Treatment

Difference Between Sprains vs Strains

What Is A Laceration Wound?

Written by

Teri Lou

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