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Neck sprain advice

Patient information A-Z

A sprain of the neck means that the muscles have been stretched, torn or bruised. This can cause pain and stiffness of the neck for up to eight weeks. The following instructions will help you to recover as quickly as possible.

  • Take the painkilling and anti inflammatory medicines at the dose prescribed by the doctor for at least three days.



  • Exercise your neck five times a day, doing each exercise five times slowly. Only move to the point of pain, do not press through it.


  1. Lower your chin to your chest, and then raise it to look at the ceiling.
  2. Turn your head to look over your right shoulder, and then turn it to look over your left shoulder.
  3. Gently bend your head down sideways to bring your left ear as
  4. close as possible to your left shoulder, repeat with your right ear and shoulder.
  5. Shrug your shoulders towards your ears and relax.
  6. Roll your shoulders forwards and backwards.

If after a few days you still have a stiff neck, contact your GP as you may need some physiotherapy.

Driving a car is not recommended while your neck is still painful because it may put other people’s lives at risk.

If you play a contact sport, please see your GP before playing or returning to practice.

If you need further advice, please contact the nursing staff of the emergency department on 01223 217 119.

Privacy and dignity

Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high-tech equipment and/or specialist one to one care is required.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151