How to Reduce Neck and Shoulder Pain: 5 Top Tips

Jun. 10 2024, Published 4:05 p.m. ET

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These five tips will have your neck and shoulders feeling as good as new!

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Stretch It Out


Per the experts at Colorado Pain Care, “Many people suffer from neck pain because of stress, which may cause clenched muscles. To help relieve pain and stiffness, you may want to engage in a regular habit of stretches.” Try rolling shoulders forward and backward or squeezing your shoulder blades toward your spine. Slowly pivot your head side to side to stretch the neck.

Go Hot and Cold


"Have you ever wondered whether hot or cold therapy is best for pain? The answer is both,” say the folks at Advocate Health Care. “Ice reduces inflammation, while heat relaxes stiff muscles.” So, to help your neck and shoulders, “alternate using an ice pack and heating pad for about 20 minutes several times a day.”

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Collar the Suspect


Using a neck collar for short periods can rest painful muscles and tissues and ease discomfort. As Dr. Robert Shmerling, a rheumatologist at Harvard Medical School points out: "Collars have a bad reputation from people overusing them and getting weak muscles, but used a few hours here and there, they can be very useful.”

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Roll With It


“A foam roller, or Styrofoam cylinder, may help you reduce pain, tender spots and stiffness in your neck and upper back,” explains Veritas Health. “Slowly roll the foam roller until you find a tender spot or trigger point. Then apply gentle, steady pressure to that spot until pain subsides, but no longer than 60 seconds.”

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Hands-On Approach


According to the Cleveland Clinic, a good way to relieve pain is to “have a partner gently massage the sore or painful area. When doing this, communication is key. Have your partner try a variety of techniques until they land on one that feels good.” Keep adapting until you both find the sweet spot.


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