How To Get Rid Of Neck Pain 2023: Causes, Treatment & Remedies

Reviewed by Dr. Drew Sutton, MD

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how to get rid of neck pain

Have you ever wondered where the saying that something or someone is a pain in the neck comes from? Well, anyone who has suffered from neck pain knows how uncomfortable and debilitating this kind of pain can be. We’ll discuss neck pain generally and some ways to resolve it and prevent it from occurring in the future in this article!

There are many causes of neck pain, including poor posture, muscle strain, nerve damage and arthritis. Understanding the causes of neck pain is important to prevent it. Poor posture[1], muscle strain, nerve damage and arthritis are some of the most common causes of neck pain. Stress, anxiety and depression can also contribute to neck pain.

Preventing neck pain can involve simple lifestyle changes such as maintaining good posture, stretching regularly, avoiding prolonged periods of sitting and using ergonomic furniture. Staying active and exercising regularly can also help prevent neck pain. Understanding the causes and prevention of neck pain can help individuals maintain good neck health and improve their quality of life.

How To Get Rid Of Neck Pain?

Treating neck pain depends on the cause of the neck pain. Over-the-counter pain medications, physical therapy, stretching and chiropractic care are some of the common remedies to treat neck pain. In addition, trigger point therapy and acupuncture can also be effective treatment options.

how to get rid of neck pain
Acupuncture for pain relief

Causes Of Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common problem that affects people of all ages. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor posture, muscle strain, nerve damage and arthritis.

Poor posture is a very common cause of neck pain. This can be due to sitting for long periods of time at a desk, looking down at a phone or tablet, or sleeping in an awkward position. Poor posture can cause the muscles in the neck and shoulders to become tight and stiff, leading to pain and discomfort.

Muscle strain[2] is another common cause of neck pain. This can be caused by overuse of the neck muscles, such as during exercise or heavy lifting. It can also be caused by sudden movements, such as whiplash from a car accident. Muscle strain can lead to pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion in the neck.

Nerve damage[3] can also cause neck pain. This can be due to a herniated disk in the spine, which puts pressure on the nerves in the neck. Nerve damage can cause sharp, shooting pain that radiates down the arm or into the head.

Arthritis[4] is a common condition that can cause neck pain. Osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear on the joints, can cause the joints in the neck to become stiff and painful. Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition, can also cause neck pain and stiffness.

Other factors that can contribute to neck pain include stress, anxiety and depression. These conditions can cause tension in the muscles of the neck and shoulders, leading to pain and discomfort. Read about how to stop negative thoughts that can be making your pain worse!

Treatment And Remedies To Get Rid Of Neck Pain

Use Over-The-Counter (OTC) Pain Medications

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications are a common treatment option for relieving neck pain. These medications can help reduce inflammation, alleviate pain and improve mobility. However, it is important to use these medications as directed and to consult with a healthcare professional if the pain persists or worsens.

One of the most commonly used OTC pain medications for neck pain relief  is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen. These medications work by blocking the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are substances produced by the body that cause pain and inflammation. NSAIDs can help reduce swelling and relieve pain, but they should not be used for extended periods without consulting a healthcare professional.

Another common OTC medication for neck pain is acetaminophen. Unlike NSAIDs, acetaminophen does not reduce inflammation but rather works by blocking pain signals to the brain. This makes it a good option for those who cannot take NSAIDs due to allergies or other medical conditions.

It is important to follow the dosage instructions when taking any OTC medication and to avoid combining different types of pain medication without consulting a healthcare professional. Additionally, individuals should not rely solely on OTC medications to treat neck pain and should also incorporate other treatments, such as stretching and physical therapy, into their treatment plan. You may also want to consider CBD for pain relief. To find out more check out this article on CBD gummies for pain!

Exercises For Neck Pain

One type of exercise that can help treat neck pain is stretching[5]. Gentle stretches can help to improve flexibility and reduce tension in the neck muscles. Stretching exercises can help to relieve muscle tightness and improve range of motion, which can reduce pain and stiffness in the neck.

Another type of exercise that can be beneficial for neck pain is strengthening exercises. Strengthening exercises help to build the muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper back, which can support the neck and improve posture. This can reduce the risk of future injuries and pain. To learn specifically about how to fix rounded shoulders check out this article!

It is important to note that specific neck pain exercises should be tailored to individual needs and conditions and performed correctly to avoid further injury.

Chiropractic Care

how to get rid of neck pain
Try Chiropractic care for neck pain relief

Chiropractic[6] care can be an effective treatment option for neck pain. It is trained to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions, including neck pain, using a variety of techniques, such as spinal manipulation, mobilization, and massage. These techniques can help alleviate pain and discomfort by improving joint mobility, reducing muscle tension and inflammation, and restoring proper alignment to the spine.

In addition to manual therapies, chiropractors may also provide exercise recommendations and lifestyle modifications to help prevent future episodes of neck pain.


Acupuncture[7] is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to alleviate pain and promote healing. It has been found to be beneficial for neck pain by reducing inflammation, improving blood circulation, and releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.

It may be particularly effective for neck pain caused by muscle tension, poor posture, or stress. By targeting specific points along the neck and shoulders, acupuncture can help release tension in the muscles and promote relaxation.

Acupuncture is a safe and non-invasive treatment option for neck pain. However, it is important to seek treatment from a licensed acupuncturist who has experience in treating neck pain. Acupuncture may not be appropriate for everyone and it is important to discuss any potential risks or side effects with a healthcare professional before undergoing treatment.

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy[8] can be an effective treatment option for neck pain, especially when caused by tight neck muscles or overuse. This technique involves applying pressure to specific areas of the muscles, known as trigger points, to alleviate pain and tension.

In the neck, trigger points can develop in the muscles that support the head and neck, such as the trapezius, levator scapulae and sternocleidomastoid muscles. These trigger points can cause neck tension, pain, stiffness and limited range of motion.

Trigger point therapy aims to loosen tight neck muscles, promote proper blood flow and restore normal muscle function. This is typically done using manual techniques such as massage, stretching or applying pressure with fingers or tools.

Trigger point therapy can be particularly effective for neck muscle pain caused by poor posture, stress, overuse, or just stiff muscles. By releasing tension in the muscles, trigger point therapy can improve mobility, reduce pain and promote relaxation.

How To Prevent Neck Pain

Relieve Stress

Stress can be a contributing factor to neck pain and relieving stress can be an effective way to alleviate neck pain. Stress can cause muscle tension and tightness, which can lead to neck stiffness and pain in the neck and shoulders.

One way to relieve stress is through relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. These techniques can help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation, which can lead to a reduction in neck pain.

Another way to relieve stress is by engaging in physical activity. Exercise can help reduce stress and tension in the body, which can alleviate a stiff neck and pain. Exercise can also improve posture and strengthen the muscles in the neck and shoulders, which can help prevent future episodes of neck pain.

It is also important to identify and address the underlying causes of stress. This may involve making lifestyle changes, such as reducing workload or improving sleep habits or seeking support from a mental health care provider.

Change The Sleep Position

Sleeping position can have a significant impact on neck pain. The position in which we sleep can affect the alignment of the spine and neck, as well as the pressure placed on the neck and shoulders. Sleeping in a poor position can lead to muscle tension, stiffness and pain.

Sleeping on your back with a supportive pillow can be the best position to relieve neck pain. The pillow should be firm enough to support the neck, but not so high that it causes the head to tilt forward. Sleeping on your side with a supportive pillow can also be a good option, but it is important to use a pillow that is high enough to keep the head and neck aligned.

Sleeping on your stomach can be the worst position for neck pain, as it can lead to excessive strain on the neck and spine. If you prefer to sleep on your stomach, it is recommended to use a thin pillow or no pillow at all.

Experiment with different sleeping positions and pillows to find the one that works best for you. 

Maintain Good Posture

how to get rid of neck pain
How sleeping positions effect your neck pain

Good posture is an essential factor in preventing neck pain. Poor posture, such as slouching or hunching over, can lead to unnecessary strain on the muscles and ligaments in the neck, causing pain and discomfort. When you maintain good posture, the muscles in your neck, shoulders and back are aligned properly, reducing the amount of strain placed on them.

In a correct posture, the neck is held in a neutral position, neither too far forward nor too far back and the shoulders are relaxed and down. This position helps to distribute the weight of the head and neck evenly, reducing the stress on the neck muscles. Furthermore, good posture helps to keep the spine in a natural alignment, which can prevent spinal problems that may contribute to neck pain.

Regularly practicing good posture habits can help prevent the development of chronic neck pain, and also help relieve existing pain. However, it can take some time and effort to improve your posture, especially if you have developed poor posture habits over time. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of your posture throughout the day, take breaks when needed, and make necessary adjustments to your workspace, furniture and daily activities to support good posture habits.

When Should You Consult A Doctor?

Neck pain is a common complaint, and in many cases, it can be treated with self-care measures such as rest, stretching and over-the-counter pain medications. However, there are certain situations where it is important to consult a doctor for neck pain.

You should consider consulting a doctor if:

  • Your neck pain is severe or does not improve with self-care measures
  • You experience numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or hands
  • You have difficulty moving your head or neck
  • You experience shooting pain or headaches
  • You have a history of cancer, osteoporosis or spinal cord injury
  • You experience neck pain after a fall or accident
  • You have a fever or other signs of infection

In these cases, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause of your neck pain and receive appropriate treatment. A healthcare professional may recommend imaging tests, physical therapy or other treatments to alleviate your neck pain and prevent further complications.


In conclusion, neck pain is a common problem that can be caused by poor posture, muscle strain, nerve damage, and arthritis, among other factors. Treatment options include over-the-counter pain medications, exercises, chiropractic care, acupuncture and trigger point therapy. It is important to follow dosage instructions and consult a healthcare professional if the pain persists or worsens.

To prevent neck pain, individuals can practice good posture, incorporate regular stretching and exercise into their routine and seek treatment for underlying conditions. By understanding the causes of neck pain and taking preventive measures, individuals can reduce their risk of developing this common problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Common Ways To Treat Neck Pain?

Over-the-counter pain medications, physical therapy, stretching, acupuncture, trigger point therapy and chiropractic care.

What Are Some Ways To Prevent Neck Pain? 

Relieve stress, Change The Sleep Position, maintain good posture.

What Is Trigger Point Therapy?

This technique involves applying pressure to specific areas of the muscles, known as trigger points, to alleviate pain and tension.

+ 8 sources

MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.

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Dr. Stephanie Nichols is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Arizona. She’s passionate about helping women resolve their anxiety, depression, and chronic stress by restoring balance to their hormones, and digestive functioning. She also approaches autoimmune conditions from a whole-person standpoint and uncovers the deeper issues through advanced laboratory testing. Dr. Stephanie assesses her patients from a Naturopathic as well as a Traditional Chinese Medicine viewpoint. Her treatment plans are unique in that they are completely customized to suit each patient on a mental, emotional, and physical level. Dr. Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences, with honors, from the University of Alberta. After recognizing the ability of food choices to impact several chronic diseases, she then pursued her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, graduating with honors.She is a consultant and nutraceutical formulator for a number of companies as well as a freelance medical blog writer.


Drew is a retired ENT doctor who now lives in the Southeastern US. He was a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology and an MD degree. He completed his internship in General Surgery and Residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and practiced for almost 30 years in all aspects of ENT, including a specialization in disorders of the ear and skull base. Drew is passionate about communicating his clinical experiences and making his knowledge more accessible to the general public by medical writing.

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