What to Do About Neck Pain

February 22, 2021

Mark L. Friedman, MD, FACEP, FACP

These days, many of us are working from home. Some of us are exercising in a home gym, and all of us are getting some sleep. If you think your daily activities could be causing neck pain, here's what you should know. 

Do you ever wake up in the morning with excruciating neck pain, unable to turn your head to one side? This is called “torticollis” and can result from sleeping in the wrong position.

If you spend many of your waking hours in front of a computer, you may experience muscle strain and pain in your neck especially if your chair is the wrong height or not “ergonomic.”

Overdoing it at the gym can also lead to muscle strain and pain. Your neck muscles can cause headaches, as well, by straining and pulling at your scalp.


How to Relieve the Pain

These simple muscular problems typically respond to:

  • anti-inflammatory pain medications (ibuprofen)
  • heat
  • rest
  • muscle relaxers

If your pain is caused by desk work, you might also get relief from making your workspace more ergonomic.

When Is It Serious?

In rare cases, neck pain can also be the sign of a more serious problem. Seek emergency care (call 911 or go to the ER) if you have pain that:

  • does not go away (even after trying remedies like ibuprofen, heat, rest and/or muscle relaxers) and is accompanied by numbness, tingling or fever.
  • is due to an acute traumatic injury (such as a football tackle or whiplash from a car accident).

Pain due to a spinal tumor, abscess, fracture, herniated disc, or spinal degeneration may ultimately result in loss of function, paralysis and even death.


Talk to a Doctor 24/7

Want to understand what’s causing your neck pain and learn how to get relief? Telemedicine doctors can diagnose the problem and provide a treatment plan that works for you. First Stop Health doctors are available 24/7 and can write prescriptions* when appropriate.

Request a Visit



Originally published Feb 22, 2021 8:42:22 PM.