• Apply ice or heat therapy. Applying ice shortly after a neck strain may help limit the swelling. Heat therapy, such as taking a warm shower or using a heating pad, helps loosen and relax the muscles.
  • Take over-the-counter medication. If the pain and stiffness are bad enough to significantly limit movement in one or more directions, taking an over-the-counter medication may be advised.
  • Practice stretching or self-massage. Loosening of the muscles and ligaments may be achieved with some stretching and/or massage. The goal is to gradually increase the flexibility without causing more pain.
  • Find the right pillow. No one type of pillow is best for everyone. Side sleepers may benefit from placing a pillow between the knees. Finding the right pillow involves some trial and error.
  • Adjust sleep position. Stomach sleeping puts stress on the spine because the head is pushed to one side or the other. It is recommended to sleep on the back to put the least amount of stress on the spine.
  • modify activities. If stiffness prevents significant amounts of movement, or is exhibiting sharp or burning pain, it is advised to avoid any strenuous activities and limit movements that increase pain.
  • Keep the temperature comfortable. While the medical literature has not examined this specific topic, some people may benefit from arranging the sleep environment to avoid cool air blowing directly onto the neck.

This information is not intended or implied as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images or other information provided is intended for general information purposes only. Always consult with your physician for diagnosis or treatment.