Neck pain can occur anywhere from the top of the shoulders to the bottom of the head. You may experience limited head and neck movement or pain that spreads to your arms or upper back. Even people taking prescription medications or other medical treatment for neck pain may find that home treatment for neck pain helps speed up their recovery. Always talk to your physician before starting any home treatment for neck pain. For chronic long lasting pain, use the same treatment for neck pain and relief methods below, except the treatments for swelling.
Treatment for neck pain that appears suddenly and is acute starts with applying ice packs to the painful area for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Cold treatments help diminish any swelling and pain and decrease muscle spasm pain. If you do not have an ice pack, fill a plastic bag with ice and wrap a pillowcase around it or use frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel. Be very careful you do not leave the ice pack on too long and end up with frostbite or damage to your skin. Ice the back of your neck if the pain is near your upper back or shoulder.
During the first two days after a neck injury, stay away from anything that could increase swelling, such as heat. Avoid taking a hot shower or bath and do not drink any alcoholic beverages. Once the swelling goes down which is usually from forty-eight to seventy-two hours after the injury, apply heat using a heating pad or warm pack on low. Some experts recommend a cold and heat treatment for neck pain, where you alternate between icing your neck and using a heating pad.
As part of your treatment for neck pain, encourage blood flow and relieve pain to the injured region by gently rubbing or massaging the area but only do this if it does not cause any pain. Many excellent nonprescription gels and creams on the market provide immediate pain relief. To reduce inflammation and relieve pain, there are several over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen. Never give aspirin to anyone under the age of twenty because there is a chance of Reye’s syndrome.
To prevent stiffness and keep your neck strong and flexible do neck strengthening and stretching exercises. This treatment for neck pain can help in the healing process for both chronic and acute neck pain and often helps prevent further injury. If possible, try to modify or avoid activities that aggravate your neck pain.