Neck injuries

Minor neck injuries often occur after road accidents. This causes pain in the neck muscles - often only a few hours after the accident. This usually gets worse over the first 24 to 36 hours, and then gradually improves, although this may take some time.

Recommended treatment is the wearing of a supportive collar. It is usually best to remove it at night, and use pillows to support the head. A rolled-up towel placed behind the back of the neck at night when lying flat helps to relieve the discomfort.

Avoid wearing the collar all the time - remove it regularly and gently move the neck to avoid becoming reliant on the collar. You should only use the collar for the time specified by the doctor.

Do wear the collar while driving a vehicle, and also when you are a passenger.

Regularly take the recommended painkillers to relieve the discomfort.

The collar may be hand washed.

If your doctor has made no arrangements to see you again, and the pain persists, contact your doctor or return to the trauma unit.

Correct sleeping posture

  • Always sleep on a firm bed, either on your back or on your side. Do not sleep face down.
  • If you sleep on your side, the following two points are important to remember:
  • Keep the head and neck straight, i.e. in line with the rest of the spine. You should use one, two or more pillows, depending on their thickness and firmness - use as many as needed to keep the head straight.
  • The arm on which you lie must be kept in front of the chest, not under or behind it.
  • Right:
    • Head straight in line with the back.
    • Firm bed.
    • Arm in front of chest.
  • Wrong:
    • Head pushed up - pillow too thick.
    • Head pushed down - pillow too thin.