How to Treat a Pulled Neck Muscle

If you suffer a pulled neck muscle, follow these steps to gain relief and get yourself back on the field.

A strain is a pulled muscle, and the neck is among the worst places to suffer one. A pulled neck muscle can occur while you're training or during a game. Football players are among the most susceptible, from an opponent pulling on their face mask or attempting to shove them while  and they turn to avoid it.

Regardless of how you suffer the injury, the goal is to treat it as soon as possible. Here are some options if you have to deal with a pulled neck muscle. Note: None of this advice should replace the recommendations of your personal physician. If you feel you need a doctor, seek one immediately.

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Rest Immediately


As soon as you can, lie down and keep your neck neutral. Don't try to turn your head one way or the other. You could increase the strain and potentially cause further damage to the area.

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Ice/Heat Packs

Apply Heat

For roughly 15 minutes, rest an ice pack on the area where you feel pain. Repeat this a few times a day for the first three days after you get hurt. After Day 3, repeat this pattern using a heating pad until the pain is gone.

Pain Relievers

Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter pain medication like aspirin, acetaminophen and naproxen can provide pain relief. If you're under 18, make sure you talk to your parents before taking any medication.

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Light Massage


Have a coach, family member or therapist lightly massage around your neck until you feel relief. You can also use a foam roller or a rolled-up towel and do self-massage.

Long-Term Rest


Resting also applies to training and playing. Refrain from training or playing your sport until you're healed and can turn your head without pain.


Pulled Neck Muscle

Eventually, you'll need to try to move and see whether the injury is still there, or if you've healed. Attempt to perform this routine a few times a day. If you feel pain at any point, stop immediately and follow the relief tips above or consult your physician.

  • Start by sitting upright in a chair and looking straight ahead.
  • Slowly raise your chin and look up to the ceiling.
  • Lower your head so you're looking straight down at the floor.
  • Raise your head back up so you're looking straight ahead.
  • Turn your head to your left as far as you comfortably can without turning your shoulders.
  • Repeat to your right.
  • Return to looking straight ahead.
  • Tilt your head like you want your left ear to touch your left shoulder.
  • Repeat on your right side.
  • Finally, perform a couple of neck rolls in both directions.

If you can do this routine several times a day for a couple of days, you should be OK to resume training. If you play a sport, get cleared by your doctor before going back into action.

If you still feel pain after two weeks, talk to your doctor about further options.

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