Applying ice or heat to the neck area and taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can treat neck pain, according to WebMD. Stretching and strengthening exercises may also help to relieve pains in the neck.
Individuals with chronic or severe neck pain may need prescription-strength pain relievers to provide relief, according to WebMD. Manual therapy, such as physical therapy, chiropractic care or massage, may lessen the pain from a neck injury. In some cases, a physician may recommend wearing a cervical collar for a few days to provide relief. Steroid injections are injected into the joints and muscles to relieve pain. Soft-collar immobilization braces provide additional support to the neck and reduce excess pressure.
When suffering from neck pain, individuals should ease back into normal activities to maintain strong muscles and avoid excessive activities, such as sports or lifting, to prevent worsening of the pain and stiffness, according to WebMD. It may also help patients to rub or massage the neck area gently to encourage blood flow. Over-the-counter muscle-relaxing creams or gels may help cool or heat the neck area when applied.
People with neck pain should work to reduce tension and stress within their personal and workplace environments to help relieve pain, according to WebMD. Relaxation exercises and mild activity, such as walking or aerobics, helps to reduce tension in the neck and increase mobility.
WebMD notes that neck pain can be caused by a variety of factors that range from physical injuries to medical conditions. Physical injuries that cause neck pain include sports accidents, falls and car accidents that induce whiplash. Medical conditions that may cause pain in the neck include arthritis, flu viruses that cause body aches, neck tumors and torticollis, a condition in which the muscles on the side of the neck become severely tightened and cause the head to lean sideways.