- Most neck pain is not serious and will improve over time.
- To help you recover more quickly, keep active and continue to move your neck. Keep doing your normal work or daily activities, or return to doing these as soon as you can. It's fine to have some pain while moving.
- It's not helpful to keep still or use a cervical collar – these can be harmful.
- Use heat or ice packs, or massage if these reduce your pain.
- Rarely, neck pain is a sign of a more serious problem. You should get it checked right away if you:
- have flu-like symptoms along with a stiff painful neck and difficulty bending your head forward
- have severe neck pain after an injury, such as a motor vehicle accident, diving accident or fall
- lose function in your arm such as weakness or clumsiness or you have persistent loss of feeling
- have difficulty passing urine.
Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 if you don't know what you should do.
Symptoms of neck pain
Neck pain refers to pain or stiffness in the neck. You may have limited movement of your neck and moving it may make the pain worse. Sometimes the pain starts in your neck but may spread to your shoulder blade, shoulder, arm or your head. You may also feel 'pins and needles' in part of your arm or hand.