Three-minute fix ... A crick in the neck

If you wake up with a cricked neck, begin slowly, says Sammy Margo, a physiotherapist practising in north London: "This means moving within your pain-free limits. I always encourage lying on the bed and gently turning the head side to side. Keep active, unless the pain is really acute."

Keeping your neck warm and semi-supported by a scarf or a roll-neck jumper is also a good idea, says Margo. "Gentle rubbing with your fingers is fine, but don't be too hard or go too deep. You can use an anti-inflammatory drug, or a little pain relief. Take what you would take for a headache."

Deciding whether to apply heat or cold to the neck is a personal choice, she says. Heat works to reduce muscle spasms, whereas ice reduces inflammation. "Use what you know works best on yourself. If you're using a frozen bag of peas, place it on your neck for 7-10 minutes. A hot water bottle can be left for a little longer, say, 10-15 minutes."

Cricked necks normally resolve themselves within three days. But, says Margo, if it lasts longer than seven days, consult your GP. "When trying to sleep with a cricked neck, I recommend a 'butterfly pillow'. Take a good, supportive pillow, hold it on both ends and shake the contents to the bottom. With your hand, 'chop' the pillow in half. Tie a ribbon tightly around the centre. Then rest your head with the pillow halves either side of your ears and the tied centre under your neck."

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.