Neck stiffness is characterized by symptoms such as: limited movement of neck either to left or right, pain in the neck, shoulders and upper back, muscle spasm in the muscles of the upper back and the cervical or headaches. Some helpful home remedies include:
Ice packs: Cold helps to dull the pain and limits the buildup of lactic acid that causes soreness. Crush some ice and wrap it in a plastic bag and cover with a pillowcase. Place the wrapped ice onto the neck to reduce the inflammation for about 15 minutes at a time. Use ice for the first 48 to 72 hours, and then use heat.
Heating pad: Place a heating pad over your sore neck for about 15 minutes to increase the blood flow while decreasing the stiffness of the neck. Heat may be applied with warm showers, hot compresses or a heating pad.
Do range-of-motion neck exercises: Range-of-motion exercises help stretch neck muscles. Sit erect but relaxed. Slowly turn your head to the right as far as you can, hold, and return it to the center. Repeat to the left. Then drop your chin down slowly toward your chest, hold, and relax. Bring your head back up. Now tilt your head toward your left shoulder, hold, and return to the center. Do the same on the right side.
Do isometric neck exercises: These are exercises performed against resistance but without actually moving your head. Sit erect and relaxed, hold your hand up to your forehead, and press your forehead into your palm, using your palm to resist the motion. Place your right hand against the right side of your head, and press your head against your hand, but use your hand to resist your head’s motion. Do the same on the left side. Press both hands against the back of your head as you try to push your head backward; resist your head’s backward motion with your hands. Press your hand against the right side of your face as you try to turn your head to look over your right shoulder; use your hand to resist the turning motion. Repeat, pressing your left hand to the left side of your face as you attempt to look over your left shoulder.
Work at eye level: If your neck discomfort comes on toward the end of the workday, chances are good that your workstation or your work habits are causing the problem. If possible, always keep your work at eye level. Change the height of your chair, desk, or computer screen; use an upright stand to hold reading material; and use a stepladder, stool, or raised platform instead of reaching up.
Sleep on a firm mattress: If you wake in the morning with a stiff neck, your mattress, pillow, or sleeping habits are probably the culprit. Use a firm mattress and keep your head aligned with your spine. Don’t sleep on your stomach, since it forces your head up. Avoid pillows that are too thick and firm; try feather or crushed-foam pillows rather than those of solid foam rubber.
Use herbs: Menthol is an herb that has cooling effect and when applied on the neck that works to relieve pain. Camphor reduces swelling and increases the blood circulation to the area. This helps to make the area warm when applied on it. Capsaicin has anti-inflammatory property that helps to relieve pain of days or weeks by gently numbering the nerve ending on the area where it is applied. Turmeric also helps you in healing the pain that caused in the neck with its natural healing properties.