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Neck Pain

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Medications

Medicines can relieve neck pain and reduce inflammation of the soft tissues. Pain relief will allow you to move your neck gently, so you can begin easy exercises and start the healing process.

Although pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants are commonly used for neck pain, none are well-proven treatments.2

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Nonprescription pain relievers include:

  • Creams or gels, such as Bengay, that are rubbed into the neck.
  • Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, which reduces pain.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen (such as Advil) or naproxen (such as Aleve), that can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Prescription pain relievers include:

  • Muscle relaxants, which are used to treat severe neck pain and spasms when neck pain begins (acute neck pain).
  • Narcotic pain relievers, which are used to treat severe short-term (acute) neck pain.
  • Antidepressants, which are used to treat long-lasting (chronic) pain.
  • Corticosteroid injections. These are rarely used for neck pain. But they may be tried if you also have symptoms such as pain or numbness in your arm that suggests a nerve root is pinched or irritated (radiculopathy).
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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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