How to Heal a Pulled Muscle in the Neck

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A pulled muscle in the neck is most likely an injury to the upper trapezius muscle, and ice should be applied to it immediately. Discover exercises for treating pulled muscles with help from a physical therapist in this free video on sports medicine and pulled neck muscles.

Part of the Video Series: Sports Medicine
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Tara Pollak, physical therapist at "Evolution Physical Therapy" here to teach you how to treat a pulled muscle in the neck. Now the most commonly pulled muscle in the neck is probably the upper trap, big muscle that runs along our neck and then the top of our shoulder. What you should do immediately when you pull this muscle is to apply an ice pack to the area, a minimum of ten minutes and a maximum of 20 minutes. You also might want to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory as directed on the bottle and then you can also seek advice from a skilled physical therapist to help you do appropriate stretches to the area when it is appropriate. What you can also do is after about three or four days of the acute injury, start to apply heat to the area. That way it will bring blood flow to the muscle and also aid in healing. One stretch that I like to do is just a gentle stretch for the upper traps. For her right upper trap I'm going to have Shonte place her hand behind her back, just so that it's resting right behind her and then very gently she's going to take her left hand, bring it up to her head and tilt her ear towards her shoulder on the left side. What that's going to do is provide a stretch to this right upper trap muscle. Now you don't want to yank and pull very hard. You just want the weight of your hand up on your head to take it towards the opposite side to provide the stretch to the muscle and then let go and come out of the stretch very slowly so as not to create any spasming to the muscle. Now if this creates any increase in your pain you always want to make sure that you stop, consult a skilled physical therapist so they can help you do everything appropriately. I'm Tara and this is how to treat a pulled muscle in the neck.

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