Cervical Strain Treatment & Management
- Author: Warren Magnus, DO; Chief Editor: Trevor John Mills, MD, MPH more...
All persons involved in MVAs who sustain neck injuries should, at a minimum, receive cervical collars prior to transport. Many emergency medical service (EMS) protocols require these patients to be placed on a backboard in full spinal precautions. Because MVAs often involve enough force to seriously injure the cervical spine, such precautions are essential to prevent further injury.
Emergency Department Care
Apply ice to acute strain injuries, and administer analgesia and pain control, as well as muscle relaxants. Soft collars are commonly used but have not been proven effective.[7, 8, 9] A single-blind study with 6-month follow-up conducted by Borchgrevink et al found that patients who received "usual care," with early mobilization and pain control, fared better than similarly treated patients placed in soft collars. This was reinforced by Kongsted et al.
At various times over the last 2 decades, there have been various calls for early multidisciplinary management including aggressive early physical therapy and other modalities. Current consensus, however, shows that consultations are rarely required for strain injuries; however, follow-up with a physician familiar with rehabilitation therapies is essential for longer-term management, particularly for patients who have experienced an occupational injury.
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