- Apply heat or ice to the painful area. Use ice for the first 48 to 72 hours, then use heat after that.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers. Doctors recommend ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Keep moving.
- Gentle massage.
- Make sure you have the proper mattress or pillow.
- Use a soft neck collar.
Should you exercise a stiff neck?
As long as your doctor says it’s OK, you should start as soon as possible to ease stiffness and pain. Resting for too long, usually anything more than a couple of days, will make it harder to get moving again. Don’t exercise if you have severe neck pain or weakness in your hands or arms.
What is the best exercise for neck pain?
- Side-to-side bends (lateral neck flexion)
- Forward and backward bends (neck flexion and extension)
- Side-to-side turns (neck rotation)
- Chin tucks (neck retraction)
- Shoulder rolls.
- Levator scapulae stretch.
- Neck isometrics.
- Head lifts.
How long does it take for a stiff neck to go away?
Neck pain caused by muscle tension or strain usually goes away on its own within a few days. Neck pain that continues longer than several weeks often responds to exercise, stretching, physical therapy and massage. Sometimes, you may need steroid injections or even surgery to relieve neck pain.