The most effective therapies for stiff neck pain include rest, hot and cold treatments, and massage. The use of heat and cold soothes and heals muscles, and these remedies are easy to perform at home. Massage, on the other hand, must be performed by a professional and should be utilized if home treatments aren't working. If stiff neck pain persists for more than one week or is accompanied by fever, seek medical attention immediately, as this could be a sign of a more serious medical condition.

Resting to Relieve Neck Pain:

The average human head weighs about 10 pounds and must be supported by the neck for long periods of time. This results in neck pain, caused by extensive use of the neck muscles. For this reason, rest is one of the most effective treatments for stiff neck pain.

Lie down for at least 30 minutes once every three hours to rest the neck muscles and relieve tension. Use a firm, supportive pillow for the best results. Too much rest, however, can result in increased stiffness, so be sure to stretch the neck muscles at least once every half hour.

Heat Treatment for Stiff Neck Pain:

Heat is commonly used to treat pain all over the body and is especially effective in reducing neck muscle pain. The easiest way to apply heat to the neck is to take a hot, soothing bath. Rest in the bath for at least 20 minutes to allow the muscles to soak up the heat. Add a few drops of a soothing essential oil such as lavender or Roman chamomile to the bath water if desired, to further reduce stiff neck pain.

Another easy way to use heat for treating stiff neck pain is to wrap a towel around the neck that has been soaked in hot water. Wring the towel out thoroughly before using. Wrap the towel around the neck and use a safety pin to secure it in place. Leave the towel around the neck until the pain is relieved or it cools in temperature. Reuse as often as necessary to reduce stiff neck pain.

Cold Treatment for Stiff Neck Pain:

When heat is not effective, another pain-reducing option is cold. Cold numbs nerves and reduces swelling, which will also alleviate pain. Fill a Ziploc bag with ice cubes and seal the bag. Hold the ice pack to the affected part of the neck and keep it in place for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not hold the ice pack on any longer than this, as nerve damage can occur from extended cold applications. Use once every two hours, or until your stiff neck pain is gone.

Professional Care:

A masseuse is trained to give a massage that will eliminate points of tension in the neck and alleviate pain. However, these visits are usually expensive, especially without insurance. If you can afford it, a professional massage is a fantastic treatment for stiff neck pain.

Contact a physician if pain persists for several days. The doctor may prescribe medication to reduce pain, which is usually effective but only covers up the problem, making it a last resort.