Resting the neck, applying ice and heat, trying massage, and using over the counter pain relievers can work together to relieve neck pain and stiffness, according to HowStuffWorks. Trying simple range of motion exercises can also soothe a sore neck, states WebMD.
Begin by resting the neck, suggests HowStuffWorks. Lie down, ideally on a firm mattress with a thin pillow, and give the neck muscles a chance to relax. The firm mattress gives the entire body good support, and the thin pillow prevents further strain.
Alternating ice and heat can dull pain, loosen tight muscles and increase blood flow to speed healing, states WebMD. Ice constricts blood vessels and numbs the area, dulling pain. Use ice for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, making sure that the ice pack is covered with a thin cloth or towel before being applied to the skin. Heat can loosen tight muscles, increasing blood flow to the area to speed healing. Use moist heat for 15 minutes at a time, repeating as needed.
Gentle massage and range of motion exercises can relieve stiffness, says HowStuffWorks. Slow, easy stretching through the entire range of motion keeps the neck supple, while massage can temporarily ease pain.
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can provide relief, states WebMD. Ibuprofen and other NSAIDS have anti-inflammatory effects in addition to pain-relieving properties.