Neck pain is often caused by poor posture, muscle tension or strain. Most of the time neck pain resolves by itself within a few days. But if neck pain continues or worsens, it could be a sign of something more serious.
Treat neck pain at home:
- Apply an ice pack to your neck for 10-15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.
- Use a heating pad for 10-15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours or take a warm shower.
- Try over-the-counter pain relievers. Do not exceed the doses listed on the labels or take for more than 10 days.
- Stretch your neck muscles by turning your neck gently from side to side and up and down. Exercises for Neck Pain.
- Get a gentle neck massage (nonprescription creams or gels, such as Bengay, may provide pain relief).
- Practice good posture, especially if your job includes lots of sitting.
- Avoid activities that aggravate your symptoms, such as sports or heavy lifting.
- Use a pillow that keeps your neck straight while you sleep.
- When driving, wear your seatbelt.
See your doctor if you:
- Feel weak or very sick
- Have a fever and stiff neck (can’t touch your chin to your chest)
- Have a headache and stiff neck
- Have weakness in your arms or legs
- Have numbness or tingling in your arms, upper back or legs
- Lose control of your bladder or bowels
- Have difficulty breathing
Call 911 or seek emergency services immediately if:
- Your neck pain occurs with chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack, such as shortness of breath and nausea.
- Your neck pain is the result of an accident, fall or a blow to your head.
Alternative treatments? Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, chiropractic care or yoga, may provide relief for neck pain. Talk to your doctor before trying any alternative treatments.