Stiff neck is caused by a simple muscle strain or sprain that will heal on its own within a few days. It is typically the result of muscles weakening over time from poor posture or misuse. An individual can do several things on his or her own to begin treating a stiff neck. Some common self-care strategies include:
Stretching – Putting your monitor at eye level, sitting up straight and avoiding tilting and twisting your head down or to the side while you’re on the computer can help you avoid neck pain.
Rest – Taking it easy for one or two days gives injured tissues a chance to begin to heal, which in turn will help relieve stiffness and possible muscle spasm.
Cold and/or heat therapy – Cold therapy/ice packs help relieve most types of neck stiffness by reducing local inflammation. Applying ice during the first 24 to 48 hours of a painful flare-up usually has the most benefit in terms of reducing inflammation.
Over-the-counter medications – Even nonprescription medications have risks, possible side effects, and drug (or food or supplement) interactions, so be sure to discuss any medications with a pharmacist or doctor.