Chronic neck pain symptoms can flare up without notice and disrupt your busy day. Here are 3 essential items that can help provide some relief, making life with chronic neck pain a little easier.

See Chronic Neck Pain: What Condition Is Causing My Neck Pain?

1. New pillow

Using a pillow that provides both comfort and support can help to alleviate neck pain.
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3 Evening Tips for Sleeping with Neck Pain Video

If you ever wake up with a stiff neck or neck pain that has worsened overnight, your pillow may be responsible.

See How to Treat a Stiff Neck After Sleeping

For back sleepers with chronic neck pain, a thick or firm pillow that causes your neck to angle forward when you lie down may be exacerbating your pain in the morning. Try a thinner pillow instead. A cervical pillow, sometimes called an orthopedic pillow, is a possible solution. This option is shaped with the center of the pillow curved inward to better support the natural curves of the head and cervical spine. The idea is to keep your neck neutral rather than flexed forward.

See Pillows for Neck Pain

There are many other options that achieve a similar effect, including a neck roll or even a soft, flat pillow tucked under the base of the skull.

See Different Types of Pillows

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For side sleepers, a medium-sized pillow or body pillow may help keep your neck aligned with the rest of your spine. Water pillows and adjustable pillows, which allow you to control the firmness and height of the pillow, are also options to consider.

See Best Pillows for Different Sleeping Positions

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong pillow, just the pillow that brings you the most comfort and pain relief. Experiment with different types of pillows and see which works best for your neck.

See Pillow Support and Comfort

2. Heating pad

Heat therapy can dilate blood vessels (vasodilation), increasing blood flow to the painful area.

Applying heat therapy can be a convenient way to ease neck pain. When you apply heat to the affected area, local blood vessels are dilated, increasing blood flow to the painful area. Heat therapy can also warm up your neck muscles, reducing tightness and allowing for greater flexibility.

See Benefits of Heat Therapy for Lower Back Pain

An electric heating pad is a popular option for heat therapy. Most versions of this device allow you to control the temperature settings, so you can select the temperature that’s most comfortable for you.

Watch Video: Home Remedies for Neck Pain

If you want an option that provides moist heat and/or allows you to move around while using it, there’s a homemade solution you can try. Fill an oversized sock with rice, tie or sew the end shut, and heat it up in the microwave to your desired temperature.

Watch Video: How to Make a Moist Heat Pack

Whenever you apply heat therapy, be careful to avoid putting it directly on your skin. Make sure a t-shirt or cloth is used as a buffer. Follow any directions carefully and regularly check your skin for burns or discoloration.

See How to Apply Heat Therapy

3. Hands-free phone

Holding a phone between your head and shoulder while talking is a common way to aggravate your neck. This position places undue strain on the cervical spine and can trigger a muscle spasm.

See Neck Strain: Causes and Remedies

Avoid neck pain by using a Bluetooth earbud or hands-free headset to make your calls.

See Treatment for Neck Pain

Bonus item

If you find yourself regularly craning your neck down to text or browse on your phone, buy a phone holder that sticks on the back and can pop up to provide a grip. This little gadget helps you hold the phone higher and reduce the angle at which you typically bend your neck.

See Text Neck Treatment and Prevention

These items won’t solve your underlying neck condition, but they may help you manage the pain.

Learn more:

Stiff Neck Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Diagnosing Neck Pain