At-Home Treatments for Neck Pain


Neck pain can be acute (lasting a few days to a few months) or chronic (lasting longer than 3 months). The causes of neck pain vary widely. Certain types of neck pain, especially muscle strain due to poor posture, may benefit from at-home treatments. However, it’s important to note that a qualified health care provider should be consulted regarding treatment of neck pain, as some causes of neck pain require professional medical attention and treatment.

At-home treatments

At-home treatments for neck pain include medications, temperature therapy, stretching, and mindfulness.

  • Medications
    Over-the-counter acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help ease neck pain. Topical products, such as lidocaine, capsaicin, or diclofenac, may also help reduce pain.
  • Temperature therapy
    Temperature therapy involves the use of heat or cold to reduce pain. Often, alternating between warm and cold is most effective for pain relief. Heat therapy relaxes stiff joints and muscles, whereas cold therapy numbs acute pain and reduces inflammation.
  • Stretching
    Gently stretching the neck or practicing yoga may help reduce pain, relax muscles, and improve range of motion. Stretching the neck muscles, especially during periods of inactivity, helps retain flexibility in the neck. Keeping the muscles in the neck pliable can help prevent neck pain.
  • Mindfulness
    Stress and pain have a reciprocal relationship: Stress increases the perception of pain, and pain increases stress. Practicing stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, can help reduce the perception of pain. Mindfulness involves using certain skills (e.g., guided imagery, meditation, journaling, breathing exercises, etc.) to focus on the present and observe inner thoughts and feelings without judgment. The goal of mindfulness is to promote relaxation, improve mental clarity, and manage stress, all of which may help to ease neck pain.