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.
- Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) can help relieve pain.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ibuprofen (such as Advil) and naproxen (such as Aleve), can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
Practice good health habits
- Try to reduce stress and tension at work and home.
- Practice relaxation exercises.
- Consider getting a massage.
- Stop smoking. Smoking slows healing because it decreases blood supply and delays tissue repair.
- Exercise regularly, including aerobic exercise such as walking.
For more information, see:
An important part of home treatment is learning how to keep from hurting your neck again. For more information, see Prevention.