Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms Evaluation Treatment specialist Home Care pain in adults pain in children warning signs Prevention Underlying Cause Anatomy

Stiff Neck Home Care

Home care for neck pain includes:

  • Apply a cold compress:
    • Wrap ice in a moist hand towel. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours, for the first few days.
  • Apply warm compresses:
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours.
  • Rest your neck.
  • Avoid activities that cause neck pain.
  • After 2-3 days, start:
    • Neck stretching exercises
    • Neck range of motion exercises
  • Acetaminophen for pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
  • Take prescribed medications as directed:
    • Don't skip doses of your medication. This makes them less effective.
    • Be aware of the common side effects that may be caused by your medication.

For more information:

Stiff Neck Pain in Adults

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with neck pain include:

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.





NSAID Precautions

Stiff Neck Pain in Children

Common medications used at home for pain in children with neck pain include:

Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.



Stiff Neck Warning Signs

Continue to Stiff Neck Prevention

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Stiff Neck References
  1. Friedman MH, Nelson AJ Jr. Head and neck pain review: traditional and new perspectives. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1996 Oct;24(4):268-78. [8892141]
  2. Hoving JL, Gross AR, Gasner D, Kay T, Kennedy C, Hondras MA, Haines T, Bouter LM. A critical appraisal of review articles on the effectiveness of conservative treatment for neck pain. Spine. 2001 Jan 15;26(2):196-205. [11154541]
  3. Linton SJ. A review of psychological risk factors in back and neck pain. Spine. 2000 May 1;25(9):1148-56. [10788861]
  4. Melis M, Zawawi K, al-Badawi E, Lobo Lobo S, Mehta N. Complex regional pain syndrome in the head and neck: a review of the literature. J Orofac Pain. 2002 Spring;16(2):93-104. [12043524]
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