The Products Doctors Swear By For Neck Pain

Neck pain being, well, a pain in the neck? Relieve the aches and muscle tension with these expert-backed items.
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Try one of these items the next time your neck pain strikes.

Neck pain is an extremely common problem; it’s estimated about 80% of people will experience it at some point in their life.

And it’s no surprise it’s so common, considering all the time we spend on our computers and mobile devices. The issue is prevalent in folks who spend long hours with their necks bent forward, which is otherwise known as “tech neck” or “text neck.” Neck pain can also be caused by other moves or injuries. Anyone who has ever slept the wrong way knows that it’s actually pretty easy to hurt your neck unintentionally.  

“With over 300 muscles in the neck, it is common to irritate or ‘over-stretch’ a muscle from overuse or overexertion such as turning the head side to side,” said Rahul Shah, a board-certified orthopedic spine and neck surgeon in New Jersey. “Additionally, neck pain can come from causes that go beyond the muscles and tendons within the neck. Other causes of neck pain can include irritation of the neck joints, arthritic bone spurs, and disc or spinal cord problems.”

So how do the experts handle this issue? Below are a few products doctors personally recommend. (Of course it’s always best to chat with your physician about your specific case; if your neck pain isn’t getting better within a few days, reach out to your doctor to see what they can do.)

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

Thera Cane Massager
This contraption might look kind of intimating, but it comes highly recommended by several doctors, including Ai Mukai, a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Texas Orthopedics in Austin. Mukai said the Thera Cane is usually her go-to recommendation for “trigger point and muscle-based pain” but you should go slow.

“It’s important to read the instructions that come with the massager because you can definitely overdo it and cause more pain and also realize it’s meant more for trigger point release — so to apply pressure and wait for it to release rather than constant movement and massaging,” she said.

Get one for $29.95.
Tiger Balm
For years, Tiger Balm has been a go-to for pain relief.

Kristina Hendija, a family medicine practitioner and medical adviser to Beardoholic, said topical creams like Tiger Balm are easy to apply directly to your neck and they get the job done.

"Topical analgesics such as this are handy and easy to use," she explained, adding that this is a great option if you're sensitive to medication since "only the skin absorbs the medicine directly onto the affected area."

Get a jar for $7.99.
If pain relief creams aren’t your thing, consider picking up a bottle of over-the-counter pills like Tylenol. Mukai said Tylenol, as well as NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen, can be taken sparingly as needed for pain. Just don’t exceed the dosage on the bottle, and talk to your doctor if you have health problems like kidney issues.

Get a bottle of 100 gel capsules for $10.47.
Misiki Memory Foam Pillow
Daniel A. Barone, a neurologist, doctor of sleep medicine and author of "Let’s Talk About Sleep," said the ideal pillow is "one that is firm enough to allow for the head, neck and spine to be in alignment."

One option is the Miski Memory Foam Pillow, which is a cervical neck pillow that comes highly recommended by Hendija. She said a neck pillow can help keep the proper C-angle of the cervical spine. With a memory foam pillow, the spine can be aligned even during sleep.

Get one for $52.99.
Sunbeam Heating Pad
Hendija also recommended the Sunbeam Heating Pad, which is a hot compress pad that "can naturally relieve muscle tension and improve blood flow to the target area."

"Using a dedicated heating pad product can help deliver gentle and controlled heat to the area, unlike using DIY hot compress such as bottles, where the heat is directly on the skin," she said.

Get one for $45.24.
Viopatch Herbal Pain Relief Patches
Ben E. Paxton, a diagnostic radiologist at Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott in Arizona, recommended Viopatch Herbal Pain Relief Patches.

He said these patches are specifically designed to provide long-lasting relief associated with muscle strains and stiffness.

"It contains a blend of herbal ingredients that provide a soothing sensation from the neck to shoulder with its cooling property, this offers great comfort and reduction of pain," he said. "This can work for up to 12 hours without the need for reapplication. It is waterproof, non-greasy and easy to apply."

Get a box for $14.50.

Before You Go

Products For Back Pain
An Adjustable Desk Chair(01 of 06)
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A year-plus of working from home has wreaked havoc on our bodies. An adjustable, supportive desk chair is key, according to Rahul Shah, a board-certified orthopedic spine and neck surgeon in New Jersey. It'll help you maintain proper posture throughout the day, which will take pressure off your back (particularly your lower back).

"For someone who has back pain, sitting in a comfortable chair allows one to hold the head comfortably over the pelvis without having the muscles having to do much extra work to bring the head in line over the pelvis," he said. "As such, chairs that have built in adjustable supports for the back and neck would be a good start, as they will work towards alleviating extra muscle work."

This Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair from Amazon for $246 fits the description of what Shah recommends. It has more than 2,000 five-star reviews, with one user saying "it has helped my posture and no longer wake up in morning with lower back pain." The chair comes with an adjustable head rest, arm rests and back support.
(credit: Amazon)
Easy Posture Lumbar Back Support Mesh(02 of 06)
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If you don't want to buy a whole new chair, try hacking the one you currently have. Gbolahan Okubadejo, a spinal and orthopedic surgeon based in the New York City area, recommends a simple back support fixture.

"This product easily straps to an office chair, and helps correct posture, and provides lower back support," he said. "It works by giving you a natural 'S' curve, which offers comfort to the lumbar spine and promotes better posture. This product prevents you from slouching, thus providing back pain relief."

Get it from Amazon for $14.
(credit: Amazon)
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow(03 of 06)
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If you haven't yet, it's time to upgrade your pillow. This Tempur-Pedic option comes in multiple sizes (including a travel size!) and is expert-approved because it "encourages a proper neck and head position while you sleep," Okubadejo said.

"By doing this, you realign your spine, which relieves back and neck pain," he continued. "The pillow works by following the natural curve of your body and stretching muscles that may be tight. Improved posture while sleeping is important because the ligaments and muscles of your back heal themselves while you sleep."

Get one from Amazon for $97.
(credit: Amazon)
A Standing Desk(04 of 06)
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Sitting is not the new smoking, as some health experts like to claim, but it can cause stress on your back if you do it for an extended period of time. It might be beneficial to get a desk setup that accounts for this issue.

"A sit/standing desk is the best option to offset the biomechanical stressors inflicted when sitting for extended periods of time," said Chad Henriksen, an ergonomics expert and director of WorkSiteRight at Northwestern Health Sciences University. "Increased low-level activity provides many health benefits compared to a prolonged, fixed-sitting posture. Alternating between a sitting and standing position balances the harmful effects of staying in one position throughout an entire workday."

This Flexispot Electric Adjustable Height Standing Desk from Amazon for $250 fits what Henriksen describes. If you don't want to ditch your current workspace, this Flexispot Standing Desk Converter for $140 on Amazon can transform your setup to a standing desk. It has more than 5,200 five-star reviews; one user with sciatica issues due to a herniated disc said: "I go through episodes where it bothers me more than usual. During the last one, I decided to buy this Flexispot 35" desk converter. I love it."
(credit: Amazon)
Heat And Ice Packs(05 of 06)
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"The use of either cold or hot packs can work to soothe the muscles locally by either reducing some of the inflammation or by increasing the warmth and encouraging blood flow," Shah said.

I can attest to this. This Pure Enrichment PureRelief Heating Pad from Walmart for $30 personally saved me when I threw out my back a few weeks ago. It automatically shuts off after a few hours, which gave me peace of mind since I used it to help ease my pain at night. This Ohuhu Reusable Gel Ice Pack With Wrap For Hot & Cold Therapy from Amazon for $15 is also a great (and highly reviewed!) option, providing the hot and cold relief that Shah recommends.
(credit: Amazon)
Chirp Wheel+ For Back Pain Relief(06 of 06)
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If you're curious what back pain pros use when they are struggling, look no further than the Chirp Wheel+. The wheel comes in multiple sizes depending on your needs.

"I highly recommend this product because the Chirp Wheel is designed to fit perfectly between your shoulder blades, targeting the muscles that go up and down your spine," Okubadejo said. "As your back is strained from the countless activities you do, those muscles lock up, and cause even more pain. The Chirp Wheel massages those muscles, relaxing your back and relieving all of the pain."

One caveat: If your back pain stems from trauma to the area, like from an accident, consult a doctor first before using it, Okubadejo said. (Really, you should do that no matter what product you use.) His other tip? Use it for 5 to 10 minutes a day and "be patient. Your body may need some time to decompress the spine and relax all those tight muscles."

Get it from Amazon for $55.
(credit: Amazon)
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