How to Treat a Pulled Neck Muscle. While a pulled muscle anywhere in the body is frustrating and painful, the neck may be the worst place to suffer an injury, as we use our necks every minute of every day. While neck strains and pulled muscles should always be treated by a medical professional, these simple tips can help you to treat neck pain at home.
Get plenty of rest for the first few days after injury. Acute injury lasts for the first 2 to 7 days after a muscle injury and is characterized by hot, swollen and tender muscles. During this time, it is important to keep the neck as stationary as possible.
Apply ice to your neck 10 to 25 minutes at a time, four to five times daily to help flush toxins from the muscles, reduce inflammation and soothe pain. When applying ice, make sure that you sit up and keep your head above your heart.
Drink plenty of water as your neck heals. When muscles become injured, they release toxins into the surrounding tissues which can increase pain and stiffness. Drinking water keeps the muscles hydrated and helps the body to remove toxins.
Use heat instead of ice after the acute injury has passed-that is, once swelling and a sensation of heat has reduced. Like ice, apply heat four to five times daily for 10 to 15 minutes to help increase circulation to the area and promote healing. If you notice a flare-up of pain or swelling after applying heat, use ice immediately afterwards.
Perform gentle strengthening and stretching exercises once the acute phase has passed as well, to prevent loss of range of motion and promote healing. Neck injuries are delicate, so always speak to a doctor or physical therapist about what exercises you should do, when and how often.