How to Relieve Upper Neck Pain

How to Relieve Upper Neck Pain: Upper neck pain is among the most common complaints revolving around postural problems. It has now become the fourth leading cause of disability on the global scale. Which follows ischemic heart disease, CVD or cerebrovascular disease, and thirdly, lower respiratory infections. Around 30 percent of people go through this pain every year. So if you are searching on how to relieve upper neck pain, you are not alone.

It might also radiate towards your arms, shoulders, and chest, causing headaches. Having upper neck pain can decrease your quality of life which makes it hard for you to focus on your activities for the day. It is often debilitating and has any interference with your daily life. Which includes your ability to feel productive, sleep, and enjoy time with your family and friends. It affects more than your body. There are studies that show how chronic pain has an impact on the mental health of people. Up to 85 percent of people having chronic pain get affected by depression.

Forward and Backward Tilting

  • It can be done when you are sitting or standing. Keep the moves smooth and slow.

  • Start with the head squarely over the shoulder region and the back in a straight manner.

  • Lower the chin toward the chest and then keep holding for half a minute. Relax, and then lift your head back up slowly.

  • Tilt the chin up towards the ceiling and bring the skull base towards the back. Now, hold for 10 seconds and return to the initial position.

  • Repeat the process several times on a daily basis.

Side Tilting

  • Do the process as you stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms down by the sides.

  • Gently tilt the head towards the right shoulder while trying to touch it through your ear. Stop as you get a stretching feel but don’t raise your shoulder.

  • Hold your stretch for at least 5 to 10 seconds and return to the initial position.

  • Repeat the process on the left side. You can repeat several sets and work up to doing ten repetitions.

  • For getting an extra stretch, put your hand on the tilted head same side on the top of the head, and press gently using the fingertips.

Side-Way Rotation

  • You can do the side rotation while you sit or stand. Keep the head squared over the shoulders and the back straight.

  • Slowly turn the head towards the right until you get a stretch in the neck and shoulder sides.

  • Hold the stretch for at least half a minute and then slowly turn the head forward.

  • Repeat the process on the left side and do up to 10 sets.

Shoulder Rolling

You can do this stretch while standing up. Raise the shoulders in a straight position and move them in a circular motion going forward. Repeat the process six times. Return to the initial position and make more than six circles while going backward.

If you experience chronic pain for more than two weeks, it is urgent you seek medical care for further treatment and evaluation. Treatments for upper neck pain vary, so if you want to know how to relieve upper neck pain, you need to find the cause and the duration of the existing pain. A lot of patients find relief through a single or a combined form of therapies. Most of the treatments for how to relieve upper neck pain include:


Both prescription and over-the-counter drugs are helpful in managing neck pain, reducing inflammation, and decreasing sleep disturbance and muscle spasms. The first line of treatment when it comes to medicines is usually NSAIDS or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like naproxen or ibuprofen. Some of these might be applied topically to the skin, such as Aspercreme and Voltaren Gel – and other treatments involve lidocaine-based patches as well as CBD ointments and creams.


Injections containing medicine for pain relief into the affected nerves or joints are sometimes given as an option to relieve pain in the upper neck. If you want to know how to relieve upper neck pain, then there are some injections like epidural steroid injections, trigger point injections as well as radiofrequency ablations that are to be performed. Botox injections are usually given at the pain site, or dry needling into the tight muscle bands, though there are studies showing mixed results of the effectiveness.

For everyone having neuropathic upper neck pain, special injections having pain relievers and steroids might be effective, especially when done in combination with the physical therapy regime. Burning or ablation of the nerves near the joints of the neck might improve mobility and alleviate pain as well.

All of the additional conventional ablations, surgeries, and injections are not beneficial. However, most insurance companies do not cover these regenerative treatments.

Cervical Pillow and Cervical Collar

If you have a sustained injury in the neck, a cervical collar is utilized for providing support and limiting motion as you heal. It also aids in keeping the cervical spine in a proper alignment manner. Cervical pillows are made for placing the right curvature degree in your upper neck as you sleep. They help to alleviate pressure on your nerves in the neck to help you in sleeping better when you are having pain in the neck.

Complementary Therapies

Alternative treatments might be helpful in your management of upper neck pain. Some of the most trending complementary therapies for treating upper neck pain involve the following:

  1. Acupuncture – acupuncture practitioners do their work for restoring a good flow of the Qi which is the energy force of the body. Some people have their relief after one treatment of acupuncture, though others need some sessions for feeling less upper neck pain.

  2. Herbal Remedy – topical herbal remedies like capsaicin ointment might alleviate pain on a temporary level when it gets applied to the skin. White willow bark and devil’s claw, for example, are commonly utilized for reducing pain and inflammation.

  3. Massage – whether the upper neck pain is started by injury, misuse, or stress, massage is helpful in releasing muscle tension and reducing inflammation and pain. Regular massages might also be good prevention measures for upper neck pain.

  4. Pilates and Yoga – the exercises are helpful in improving your core strength, balance, body posture, and reducing stress. These are the ways to help you reduce neck pain and prevent it. If the pain gets caused through tense muscles or through weak core muscles, pilates and yoga are helpful in particular.

  5. Chiropractic Care – a professional may reduce neck pain by using chiropractic neck practices which are termed cervical manipulation. The adjustments help to loosen the cervical vertebrae joints in the neck for reducing the pain. This pain might be caused by pinched nerves and muscle spasms. The chiropractor might use different techniques for reducing misalignments or joint restrictions for reducing inflammation, improving function, and eliminating upper neck pain.

  6. Physical Therapy – most of the treatments for physical therapy for neck pain include a program for exercise. Studies reveal that physical therapy is often regarded as a better line of treatment for neck pain than pain medication or surgery. The physical therapist will work with you on the exercises and the treatments that you can do at home to help you get back to your normal functions and routine.

Final Words

These were some of the tips for how to relieve upper neck pain. If you are experiencing it, you can apply further strategies that will help you prevent and reduce such pain in your life. You need to stay physically active all day by walking, stretching, and doing light exercises that do not make the pain worse. Make sure you allow yourself a bit of rest during the day so you can give your neck a break from stiff positions. Learn how you can communicate with your healthcare professionals and loved ones. Set healthy boundaries and only commit to the work that you can do easily.

FAQs on How to Relieve Upper Neck Pain

  1. What should I do if I cannot get ablation procedures or corticosteroids in the neck?

For people who don’t have ablation procedures or corticosteroids for some reason in the neck, regenerative treatments might be an option. These options include stem cells coming from the bone marrow aspirate concentrate and platelet-rich plasma.

  1. Is upper neck pain a common problem?

If you feel your neck to be sore or stiff, you should know it is not a rare problem, and a lot of Americans complain of this problem. Stretches, exercises, and other parts of your body can make the neck muscles become more limber and stronger. These moves will help in loosening your tense neck, get rid of pain, and get flexibility.

  1. How can having a strong neck help me?

A strong neck will help you to stay protected from problems with your upper back, shoulders, and arms. If you have pain in the neck or somewhere else in the body, you need to talk to the doctor before you get started. You will feel some kind of tension in your muscles when you stretch. Moreover, you should not have any pain – if you do have it, you need to stop.


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