Overview

Neck pain
Neck pain

Most neck pain only lasts a few weeks. There are things you can do yourself to ease it, but see a GP if it does not go away.

How you can ease neck pain yourself

Do:

  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen – or use ibuprofen gel on your neck
  • use a low, firm pillow
  • put heat or cold packs on your neck
  • try neck exercises

Don't:

  • do not wear a neck collar – it's better to keep your neck moving (unless a doctor tells you not to)
  • do not do anything that could be dangerous because you can't move your neck – for example, driving or cycling

Putting heat or cold packs on your neck

Try either of these:

  • a pack of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel for 5 minutes, 3 times a day
  • a hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel for 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day

You can also buy heat or cold packs from a pharmacy.

See a GP if:

  • pain or stiffness does not go away after a few weeks
  • painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen have not worked
  • you're worried about the pain
  • you have other symptoms, like pins and needles or a cold arm – this could be something more serious

What can cause neck pain

The most common causes are:

  • the neck becoming locked in an awkward position while sleeping
  • bad posture – for example, when sitting at a desk for a long time
  • a pinched nerve
  • an injury – for example, whiplash from a traffic accident or fall

How you can prevent neck pain

Do:

  • when sleeping, make sure your head is the same height as the rest of your body
  • have a firm mattress
  • sit upright – roll your shoulders back gently and bring your neck back

Don't:

  • do not keep your neck in the same position for a long time – for example, when sitting at a desk
  • do not sleep on your front
  • do not twist your neck when you're in bed

 



The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website nhs.uk
Last Updated: 07/05/2021 13:18:53