A pain in the neck
Managing neck pain or a stiff neck at home is achievable if you follow some simple steps.
Whatever the cause of neck pain or a stiff neck, the advice is generally the same: carry on with your normal lifestyle, keep active and take painkillers to relieve the symptoms.
Take regular doses of paracetamol, ibuprofen or a combination of the two to control pain. Ibuprofen gel can be rubbed onto the neck as an alternative to tablets. Always follow the dosage instructions on the packet.
Try holding a hot water bottle or heat pack to your neck to reduce any pain and muscle spasms.
Sleep on a low, firm pillow at night. Avoid using two pillows as this may force your neck to bend unnaturally.
Check your posture, as this can aggravate the pain and may have caused it in the first place.
Avoid wearing a neck collar. There is no evidence that this will help to heal your neck and it is better to keep the neck mobile. If you must wear one to make your neck more comfortable, do not wear it for more than 48 hours.
Avoid driving until the pain and stiffness have gone, as you will not be able to turn your head to view traffic.
If your neck is stiff or twisted, try some simple exercises within your comfort zone – gently tense your neck muscles as you tilt your head down and up and from side to side and as you carefully twist your neck from left to right. These exercises will help to strengthen your neck muscles and improve your range of movement.