How Do I Get Rid of a Crick in My Neck?

Medically Reviewed on 11/17/2021

7 ways to get rid of a neck crick

crick of the neck
Here are 7 ways to get rid of a crick in your neck, which include applying ice or heat, stretching, taking pain relievers, and trying a soft neck collar.

A crick in the neck is a popular word that refers to the neck stiffness or spasm that occurs suddenly.

You can get rid of a neck crick in various ways that include:

  1. Apply ice initially
    • Apply ice for the first 48 to 72 hours on the painful area since it relieves the initial swelling and pain.
    • Do not apply ice directly. Instead, wrap it in a small cloth or towel and move it gently over the affected area.
  2. Apply heat
    • Ice application should be followed by the application of heat. You can apply heat to the affected area using a heating pad, warm showers, or hot compresses.
  3. Take over-the-counter pain relievers
    • You can try over-the-counter medication for a little relief from milder pain associated with a crick in your neck.
    • Examples include acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
  4. Try stretching
    • After applying heat, stretching the neck gently can sometimes offer some relief in a cricked neck. The slow stretching might help relieve tension in the affected area.
    • Move your neck up and down and side to side. Be gentle, and do not push yourself too hard. If pain is excruciating, it is better not to move the neck.
  5. Massage the area
    • Make use of your hands or get help from a family member or a friend to gently massage the affected area.
  6. Modify your bedding
    • Use a firm mattress and a special neck pillow.
  7. Try a soft neck collar
    • You can try a soft neck collar for a few days until you get relief from the crick in your neck. However, always check with your doctor before using it.

Why do you get a crick in your neck?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 out of 100 people experience neck pain frequently.

A crick in your neck is most often caused by muscle weakening that results over time. Poor posture over time or muscle weakness due to lack of exercise can often cause the neck to crick. This can happen when you stare at your phones or computer screens or drive for longer periods.

Over time, either pulling a muscle or an impinged nerve or both may cause a crick in your neck.

A crick in your neck indicates repeated use of wrong posture or misuse of neck muscles. It is a signal to let you know the cause of the injury.

How can I prevent a crick in my neck?

It is fine to develop a crick in your neck occasionally. However, if you are someone who gets it frequently, here are some tips to prevent it.

  • Try experimenting with your sleeping position. If you have been using a soft mattress and multiple pillows, replace them with a firm mattress and a special pillow for the comfort of your neck.
  • Check with your posture. Always sit upright and do not slump or lean toward your computer while sitting on a chair.
  • Change your desk chair. If you think your desk chair is not right for your neck, use a comfortable desk chair that supports your neck.
  • Do not forget to stretch. Always stretch your neck muscles in the morning and several times during the day if you sit for long periods in front of your computer.
  • Get your vitamin D and calcium tested. Often the neck muscles weaken due to a lack of vitamin D and calcium. You may get it checked after discussing it with your doctor.


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Medically Reviewed on 11/17/2021
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