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. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
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).