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Neck Pain

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Home Treatment

Even if you need medical treatment such as prescription medicines for your neck pain, the following home treatment measures will help speed your recovery.

Heat or ice

There is not strong evidence that either heat or ice will help. But it won't hurt to try them.

  • Use a heating pad on a low or medium setting for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 or 3 hours.
  • Take a warm shower in place of one session with the heating pad.
  • You can buy single-use heat wraps that last up to 8 hours.
  • Try an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.

Get moving, but carefully

  • Ease back into your normal daily activities as soon as you can. Movement helps your muscles stay strong.
  • Avoid activities such as lifting and sports that make pain and stiffness worse.
  • Do stretching and strengthening exercises to keep your neck flexible and strong and prevent stiffness.
  • Avoid or change any activities that may be causing your neck pain, such as sitting for a long time at the computer or doing too much overhead work at a time.
  • Gently massage or rub the area to relieve pain and encourage blood flow. Don't massage the injured area if it causes pain. Nonprescription creams or gels, such as Bengay, may provide pain relief.

Pain relievers

Practice good health habits

For more information, see:

Stress Management.
Quitting Smoking.
Fitness.

An important part of home treatment is learning how to keep from hurting your neck again. For more information, see Prevention.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 19, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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