One of the simplest ways to treat neck and shoulder pain is by taking over-the-counter pain relief medication, according to Mayo Clinic. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen and other common products can reduce pain by lowering inflammation or affecting the central nervous system. However, these medications should only be taken as directed.
In addition to taking pain medication, neck and shoulder pain can also be treated with gentle stretching, such as neck and shoulder rolls, or temperature treatment, suggests Mayo Clinic. To perform the latter, try applying an ice pack for 20 minutes several times a day. Alternate these treatments with warm showers or a heating pad on the lowest setting for 20-minute periods.
If the pain seems to result from an illness or physical injury or does not respond to home treatments, seek medical attention immediately, advises Mayo Clinic. While mild cases of neck and shoulder pain typically respond to self-care within a few weeks, this problem can also be a sign of a serious medical problem. Additionally, some cases may require stronger medication or therapy for effective relief. As a result, it may be necessary to seek out a doctor who specializes in musculoskeletal conditions, nerve-related disorders or another problems. Often these specialists can be referred by a primary care physician.