A combination of stretching and pressure is one way to ease the pain of a stiff neck, according to Prevention. Most stiff necks begin with a knot in one of the muscles, so start by feeling around with your fingers to find the spot that is most sore. Place a hand on the area, using your right hand if it's on the right side of the body and your left hand if it is on the left.
Next, press firmly on the sore spot with your fingers, explains Prevention. This may induce a certain amount of pain, but if it hurts a great deal, ease off on the pressure a bit. If the spot is in a location that you can't reach, place a tennis ball behind you, and lean back against a wall so the ball presses firmly on the spot that hurts.
The next step is stretching your neck to activate the cramped muscle, states Prevention. Maintaining firm pressure on the area, turn your head away from the side that's sore. Lean your head slightly forward, as if you are trying to touch your chin to your armpit. This movement helps relax the cramp. Repeat the entire sequence 10 to 20 times and several times throughout the day.
If your stiff neck is the result of slouching at a computer, try dropping your shoulders and stretching your neck by drooping your chin to your chest. Then place the fingers of both hands on the area where your neck and shoulders meet, and press firmly until the muscles relax. Release the pressure, and roll your shoulders forward and backwards a few times. Repeat this exercise throughout the day, explains Today.