Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Neck Pain

Font Size

Treatment Overview

Most neck pain is caused by activities that involve repeated or prolonged movements of the neck. Nonsurgical treatment works well on this type of pain. Most cases of neck pain caused by activities get better in 4 to 6 weeks.1

Acute (short-term) neck pain

Home treatment includes applying heat or ice, taking it easy but staying as active as you can, and using over-the-counter pain relievers.

For severe pain or muscle spasm, your doctor may prescribe stronger medicines.

Manual therapy, including massage, mobilization, and manipulation, can help some neck pain. See a physical therapist, chiropractor, or osteopathic doctor for this type of care and to learn stretching and strengthening exercises that you can do at home.

Your doctor may recommend that you wear a cervical collar to support your neck camera.gif. Cervical collars may reduce neck pain, but they should only be used for a day or two.

Chronic (long-term) neck pain

For long-lasting neck pain, you can use the same pain-relief measures used for acute pain. For more information, see Home Treatment.

Your doctor may also prescribe antidepressants.

People who have chronic pain syndrome and its associated problems, such as depression or drug dependence, may respond to treatment more slowly. Counseling along with medical treatment may help in recovery.

Surgery

Surgery is rarely required for neck pain. It may be an option when neck pain is caused by certain conditions.

1

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.
Next Article:

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

feet
Solutions for 19 types.
Heart-Shaped Fried Egg
Can you benefit from them?
oatmeal and eggs
How to make the best choices for you.
dog begging at table
Foods your dog should never eat.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
Adult man lying awake in bed
How to recognize them.
chlamydia
Pictures and facts.
smiling woman
Fight the effects of getting older.
chicken and veggie kabobs
What are you eating tonight?
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
young woman in sun
What to watch for.
woman clutching at stomach
Do you know what's causing yours?

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.