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First Aid Tips for a Stiff Neck - WatsonsHealth

First Aid Tips for a Stiff Neck


Are you always having stiff neck? There are many reasons for a stiff neck, ranging from preventable causes such as poor posture to more serious ones that include neck injuries. If you suddenly have a stiff neck, here are some things that you should do as first aid treatment.


A stiff neck needs plenty of rest. Rest can help injured tissue achieve healing and will lead to the regrowth of damaged cells. It can also help relieve muscle spasms and stiffness.

If you have a stiff neck, you should take rest until the symptoms subside so that the neck is given enough time to heal by itself.


Massage the painful area for 2 to 7 minutes in order to numb the pain. Gently massage or rub the area in order to relieve pain and encourage circulation. Do not massage the area if it causes too much tenderness.

Cold and Heat Therapy

Alternating cold and heat treatment can help relieve inflammation and stiffness of the neck muscle.

Cold compress minimizes the swelling and pain. Apply ice or cold compress on the affected areas for 15-20 minutes at 3-4 times a day or even up to one hour for the first 24-48 hours. Put a towel between the skin and the ice pack to prevent frostbite from developing. The cold temperature will enable the blood vessels to shrink so that pain and inflammatory substances cannot spread to the neighbouring tissues and prevent further tenderness and swelling.

After 48 to 72 hours, apply warm compress or moist heat if there is no swelling. Apply warm heat for 15-20 minutes at 3-4 times a day. Warm heat can lead to vasodilation of the blood vessels so that good blood flow and circulation can be restored. With restored circulation, cells and tissues can get adequate nutrient and oxygen supply. This can encourage tissue healing and eliminate free radicals that are present during inflammation.


Stretching is the best exercise that can help relieve neck stiffness. Aside from relieving stiffness, it also restores the neck’s range of motion. It further strengthens the joints and muscles that support the neck and prevents further stiffness in the future.


Many medications are available that will help reduce inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen can help in relieving the pain and reducing the inflammation.

Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises

Low-impact exercises like walking are also effective against neck stiffness. These physical activities can help strengthen core muscles that help support the neck so that it will not get strained easily.

Choose Your Activities Well

Continue with the daily activities, but avoid activities that can worsen pain. Practice good posture and avoid slouching or a head-forward posture.

Avoid smoking and too much stress in your life. Practice yoga or meditation.

A neck collar or brace can be used if recommended by the doctor.


-Medical Observer

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