Graphic showing how Voltaren Gel works on the neck

Methods for Neck Pain Relief

Managing neck pain can keep you truly present and in the moment, instead of wincing in pain at the slightest head movement. Looking at a menu at your favourite restaurant, putting the last stitches on that embroidery project, even turning to look at your loved one as they walk through the door after a long day – it all is made difficult when your neck hurts. That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to neck pain relief methods to help you regain your joy of movement.

Neck pain occurs when there is a tear or strain in any of the muscles, ligaments, nerves, or discs that make up your neck, also known as your cervical spine. Neck pain risk factors include, sleeping in an awkward position, overuse, emotional stress, or injury due to an accident or contact sports. It may also be spurred by arthritis.

If you’re wondering how to help manage neck pain, read on.

Medicated options for neck pain

Sometimes, medicated methods for relieving neck pain are the way to go, especially if at the onset of neck pain and if neck pain is particularly hampering your ability to get through the day with a smile on your face.

Over-the-counter pain tablets1

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, can help relieve neck pain.  

Anti-inflammatory gels, such as Voltaren Emulgel

If you’d prefer to use a topical gel format to taking a tablet, these are available in the form of diclofenac or ibruprofen. Voltaren Emulgel contains an anti-inflammatory NSAID diclofenac that relieves pain and reduces inflammation, so you can regain the joy of turning your neck.

Non-medicinal options for relieving neck pain

Neck pain can often be managed at home, with neck pain resolving itself within a short time.

Try these non-medicinal methods for neck pain relief:

  • Cold or heat2
    Reduce inflammation by applying an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel for up to 20 minutes a day.3 Alternate cold therapy with heat in order to sooth and loosen tight neck muscles. Consider taking a hot shower or applying a heat patch.
  • Stretch
    Gently stretching your neck muscles can keep them from seizing up and causing pain. Gently tilt, bend, and rotate your neck to loosen your neck muscles and keep them limber.
  • Neck-strengthening exercises
    If you’re looking for ways to prevent neck pain in the long run, consider performing exercises on a regular basis that strengthen your neck muscles. This can help stave off future neck pain. Poor muscle conditioning is a risk factor for muscle strain4
    • Sit comfortably with your shoulders back. Clasp your hands gently behind your head. Press your head firmly backward into your hands. Hold for 30 seconds and release. Perform multiple times to build strength.5
    • You can also vary this by moving your head side to side, or up and down, slowly, pausing and slightly stretching at the end of the movement arc.
  • A collar
    Using a neck collar for a short period of time allows your painful muscles and tendons to rest6.
  • Practice good posture
    Slouching and rounded shoulders are signs of poor posture. We’re all guilty of it, whether it’s hunching over your phone or slouching on the couch. Particularly for those of us who sit in front of a computer all day, bad posture can be an especially bad habit. Be sure to practice good posture when you are sitting, standing, and walking in order to prevent neck pain. 
Man sitting relaxed at computer with hands behind his head
Happy woman streching in bed.

Here are some posture tips, when it comes to neck pain:

  • Keep your cervical spine straight, as if an imaginary string is pulling it up towards the ceiling.
  • Pull your shoulders back so they are aligned with your ears. This ensures that the weight of your head is naturally balanced on your cervical spine, instead of straining the neck muscles.7
  • Get a good, supportive night’s rest
    Sleep problems increase the risk for a wide range of conditions, including musculoskeletal pain.8 So, if your neck is feeling a little sore, be sure to set an appropriate bedtime and stick to it.  No less important is making sure you use the proper pillows to keep your neck in alignment with your back while you sleep. Your pillows should maintain your neck vertebrae in a straight line with the rest of your spine. 
  • Take it easy
    You know the feeling… You’re worried about an upcoming event and your neck and shoulders feel like a pile of knots. Emotional stress has a way of tensing up the muscles in our back, which can contribute to neck pain.9 If you feel tension building up, see if you can take a night off (is it really worth the impending pain of a sore neck?). Make yourself a cup of hot tea, kick back, and relax.

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Health, wellness & your pain

Pain is rarely just physical nor is it always solved by taking medicine alone. Voltaren is your ally in helping you take more control of your pain journey, from the way you sleep, to what you eat, mental wellbeing and complementary pain relief therapies.