How to Treat Stiff Neck at Home Using Natural and Alternative Remedies

Updated on February 24th, 2020
how to get rid of a stiff neck

Dealing with a stiff neck is not only painful, but it can also have debilitating effects on your day-to-day life. In fact, it can even affect the quality of your sleep and the resultant energy levels. According to a study conducted in 2010(1), more than 12 percent of men and 17 percent of women suffer from neck pain or stiffness, which severely impacts their life.

Incidents of neck stiffness and resultant pain have increased due to lifestyle changes and the prevalence of mobile devices and computers, which have a ruinous effect on an individual’s posture. In fact, craning or arching your back and neck is one of the leading causes of neck strain.

Read on to know how to get rid of a stiff neck:

CURE 1: Home Remedies

Following are a few reliable stiff neck home remedies that you must try:

1. Ice Packs

Cold or Hot Pad on Neck

Applying an ice pack is the go-to remedy for all issues related to stiffness or soreness. Hence, it comes as no surprise that ice packs can help with a stiff neck.

Why Does it Work?

The application of ice(2) over the stiffness helps in bringing down inflammation and swelling in the area. Alternatively, you may also alternate between hot and cold compress as it promotes blood circulation in the area to boost healing while also bringing down any inflammation.

Materials Required

  • An ice pack


  1. Apply the ice pack over the affected region for at least 20 to 30 minutes.


Do this three to four times daily.

[ Read: Heat or Ice to Ease Neck Pain ]

2. Epsom Salt

If you are looking for how to get rid of a stiff neck fast, then taking a dip in a warm Epsom salt bath can actually do your condition wonders.

Why Does it Work?

Epsom salt is composed of the salts of sulfates and magnesium that help reduce muscle soreness by regulating bodily enzymes and salts. It also has relaxing capabilities, along with enhanced blood circulation.

Materials Required

  • Two cups of Epsom salt
  • A warm bath


  1. Mix the Epsom salt in the bathtub and soak in it for at least 15 minutes.


Follow this routine twice a day.

[ Read: Natural Remedies for Neck Pain ]

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

home remedies for bug bites

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) could be the magic cure to a stiff neck.

Why Does it Work?

ACV is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds(3) that can release the stress present in the neck muscles, thereby decreasing the stiffness and the pain.

Materials Required

  • A cup of ACV
  • A clean, warm towel


  1. Soak the towel in the ACV and place it over your neck.
  2. Let it sit for about an hour.


Apply the towel twice a day until you notice an improvement in your condition.

CURE 2: Essential Oils

Certain essential oils can grant your stiff neck relief; these include:

1. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint Oil

The cooling and refreshing fragrance of peppermint can relax the mind and put you in a state of bliss. However, did you know that it can even help with stiff necks?

Why Does it Work?

Peppermint oil possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties(4) that can have a soothing effect on your neck and surrounding muscles. It is also effective against headaches caused by a stiff neck.

Materials Required

  • A few drops of peppermint oil
  • 10mL of olive oil


  1. Blend the peppermint essential oil with the carrier (olive oil).
  2. Apply it generously around the affected portion.
  3. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes (ideally, overnight). You may rinse it off with warm water.


Apply peppermint oil about twice a day.

[ Read: Essential Oils for Neck Pain ]

2. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is yet another essential oil that not only facilitates physical wellbeing, but also caters to emotional and mental health.

Why Does it Work?

Lavender essential oil is capable of relieving mental and physical stress(5). Subsequently, the oil also helps with the removal of tension in the muscles of the neck.

Materials Required

  • A few drops of lavender essential oil
  • A teaspoon of warm olive oil


  1. Mix the essential and carrier oil to form a blend. Apply it on the neck and gently massage it for a couple of minutes.
  2. Allow the body to soak up the oils.


Apply the blend at least twice a day.

[ Read: Massages for Neck Pain ]

CURE 3: Exercises

The best way to get rid of a stiff neck is by exercising the neck region to keep the muscles working.

1. Simple Stretching

Make it a habit to stretch your muscles to prevent any stiffness or formation of knots.

Why Does it Work?

Simple stretching and basic neck exercises not only keep the muscles flexible, but they also strengthen them. Further, they can help with posture rectification.


  1. Bend your head towards the front until you feel a slight pull on the base of your neck. Support your head gently with your hand.
  2. Hold this position for about 10 seconds.
  3. Get your head back in the neutral position.
  4. Tilt your head to the back until your neck is elongated.
  5. Hold this position for about 10 seconds.
  6. Get your head back in the neutral position.
  7. Follow the same procedure for side-to-side (left-right) stretching.
  8. Repeat these steps at least 20 times.


Try this exercise every time you feel any tension building up in your neck.

[ Read: Exercise for Neck Pain ]

2. Light Yoga

Certain yoga poses can effectively target the neck muscles and can be your answer to how to cure stiff neck fast.

Why Does it Work?

Yoga helps in the reduction of stress, which could be an underlying reason for the stiffness and tension in your muscles. Additionally, yoga also stretches out the neck muscles, extends the spine, and helps with releasing the stiffness along the region.

Useful Poses

Try out any of the following Yoga poses:

  • Bharadvajasana – The Twisting Pose
  • Uttana Shishosana
  • Marjariasana – The Cat Pose
  • Savasana – The Corpse Pose
  • Balasana – The Child Pose


Do these yoga poses once or twice a day.


Here are a few tips on how to prevent stiffening of the neck muscles:

  • Limit exposure to smartphone devices.
  • Set up ergonomic seating/working spaces.
  • Sleep on your sides or back.
  • Make use of a neck pillow.
  • Exercise regularly.

In most cases, a stiff neck with minor pains can be resolved at home. Try applying heat or cold packs, as a majority of the cases can be dealt with in this manner.

However, if the problem persists, try out the other remedies mentioned above. If the pain does not subside for over 3 to 4 days and is accompanied by other symptoms, consider seeing your physician immediately.

[ Read: Yoga Poses for Neck Pain Relief ]


1. Is a massage good for neck pain?

Normally, a stiff neck massage is good for treating neck and back pain. However, ensure that the massage is being administered by a professional as they can effectively stretch your muscles and grant you genuine pain and stiffness relief.

2. How to massage a stiff neck?

It is not advisable to self-massage a stiff neck. However, you can apply some essential oil diluted with carrier oil over the affected region and gently massage in circular motions around it.

3. How long does it take for a stiff neck to go away?

Depending on the intensity and cause of neck stiffness, along with precautions taken by the individual, the stiffness in the neck takes anything between a couple of days to two to three weeks to recover.

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