Neck strain is probably one of the most common complaints that people have on their musculoskeletal system next to back pains. Whether you woke up in a wrong position or you have been working in front of the computer for prolonged periods, neck pain can be disturbing. Neck pains usually develop from straining the muscles in the neck and may lead to reduced neck motion and even pain every time you move your neck and head.

Neck strain is not a serious condition, but the neck discomfort and stiffness may make it a disabling condition. Nevertheless, there are various treatments that you can employ to relieve neck strain in no time. These include:

• Stretching exercises
While you may not want to increase the pain in your neck, stretching exercises is the most effective way to relieve neck strain. Stretching increases the flexibility of the neck muscles and also relieves tension and spasms. To relieve neck strain through exercises, the following are some of the most effective stretches for the neck:

• Side and forward neck flex- This stretch is very easy to do even if you are working. While you stand or sit, flex your neck forward so your head is towards the ground. Interlace your fingers behind your head and use them to pull your head forward. Maintain the stretch for at least 20 seconds and repeat three times. You can also perform side flex by flexing the head towards the shoulders. Use the hand on the same side to pull the head further. Repeat on the other side.

• Neck roll-This stretch is probably more difficult than the neck flex; however, it tends to release tension on the muscles more effectively when done properly. Begin by allowing your chin to touch your chest. Next, roll your head towards the side so that the ears are touching the shoulders. Repeat five times and perform on the other side.

• Icing
When you suddenly woke up with a stiff neck, the first thing you can do is to apply an ice pack to stop the swelling and further pain. Apply the ice pack for at most 15 minutes and alternate with a warm compress.

• Warm packs
Following the acute injury, warm packs help the neck muscles relax. When the warm temperature enters the muscle fibers, it tends to break the tension and tight knots giving you relief from neck strain. Warm packs may be applied three times a day for at most 15 minutes for best results.

• Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications
Anti-inflammatory medications may also be used to relieve pain in no time. However, they tend to reduce the pain only and other measures should be employed to relieve the root cause of the pain, which is muscle strain.

• Massage
You won’t need a massage expert to relieve the muscle strain for you. During your free time or while working, you can rub the affected side of your neck. You can also use vibrating massage equipment or a massage roller for more comfort.

Neck strain usually goes by itself; however, employing measures to relieve the strain may help you gain optimal range of motion faster.