A pulled muscle in the neck normally takes one to two weeks to heal, according to ZocDocs. Following the RICE Protocol, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, helps to improve healing.
A pulled muscle in the neck is commonly known as a neck sprain and can cause pain in the neck, shoulders and lower back. It's a muscle injury caused by muscle fatigue or overuse during physical exertion, or repetitive use under the wrong conditions, according to the Spine Center of NYU Langone Medical Center. Proper treatment includes resting the neck until symptoms subside; icing the area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day for the first 48 hours, followed by alternating ice and heat. Compression and elevation are difficult for sprained neck muscles, but a soft neck brace can help. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help ease pain and decrease inflammation.
The length of time for complete relief from pain depends on the cause and severity of the injury, but if pain from a pulled neck muscle does not clear up after two weeks or is accompanied by weakness, numbness or tingling, then a trip to the doctor is in order, according to ZocDoc.