Pain in Back of Neck When Swallowing: How to Treat It at Home

woman with neck pain

Are you suffering pain in back of neck when swallowing? There are a couple of different causes for this condition and all of them can be treated at home. This is one of the symptoms often associated with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and our list will include 7 home remedies dealing with that. Another possibility is muscle strain or muscle tension and we will include 7 home remedies dealing with that condition as well. Believe it or not, there is even one remedy which works for both.

Do not assume that these remedies are all inclusive cures. All serious health conditions need the advice and treatment of a health care professional and should not be ignored.

15 Home Remedies to Ease Pain in Back of Neck When Swallowing

1. Fennel

If the pain in back of neck when swallowing is related to GERD, then fennel seeds are one of the best remedies for treating your condition. Fennel is highly effective at suppressing stomach spasms due to a compound known as anethole. Suppression of stomach spasms helps eliminate acid reflux action.

What to do:

  • Chew ½ tsp of fennel seeds after meals.
  • Or you can steep 1 tsp of fennel seeds in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes and then drink the tea 2 to 3 times daily.

2. Cumin

A cousin to fennel is cumin, which can also relieve pain in back of neck when swallowing as it relates to GERD. Cumin seeds stimulate digestion and reduce digestive acidity and gas.

What to do:

  • Cumin is added to a lot of Mexican dishes to help balance out their acidity and can be used in numerous culinary dishes.
  • You can also make cumin seed tea following the same instructions as listed under fennel above.

3. Yellow Mustard

When it comes to acid reflux and the accompanied pain in back of neck when swallowing that is associated with it, yellow mustard isn’t what you think of as a remedy. The vinegar content in yellow mustard is more toward the neutral side of the pH scale and helps to balance stomach acidity.

What to do:

  • Take 1 tsp of yellow mustard to calm stomach acid and chase it with a glass of water.
  • Note: that in some cases, this worsens certain types of heartburn.

licorice root

4. Licorice Root

The mucus membranes in the esophagus sometimes need some protective lining to help reduce the burning effects of reflux. Licorice accomplishes that goal and reduces inflammation and the spasms associated with acid reflux. Reducing those to factors helps relieve pain in back of neck when swallowing.

What to do:

  • In 1 cup of water, boil ½ tsp of licorice root powder for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Strain the tea and drink it 15 to 20 minutes before meals.
  • Repeat this 2 to 3 times a day one week.
  • Note: Consult your doctor before taking this herb.

5. Slippery Elm

You get soothing anti-inflammatory action as well as relief from pain in back of neck when swallowing from slippery elm. This herb includes demulcent properties which aid in coating the esophagus and the stomach lining to relieve reflux symptoms.

What to do:

  • Mix 2 Tbsp of slippery elm bark powder in 2 cups of hot water.
  • Allow the mixture to steep for 5 minutes.
  • Strain and drink the tea 3 times daily until you see full improvement.

6. Marshmallow

We are not talking about the sugary substance used to make s’mores. Being pure sugar, they would be very likely to add to the pain in back of neck when swallowing as well as a number of other issues. The herb, marshmallow, has very similar properties to slippery root and can actually be quite beneficial in the treatment of GERD.

What to do:

  • Mix 2 Tbsp of dried marshmallow root in a one quart jar of water.
  • Allow the mixture to sit overnight.
  • Strain out the herb the following morning.
  • Drink the infusion a few times daily until you obtain desirable results.

7. Aloe Vera Juice

One of the most soothing gels on the planet comes from the aloe vera plant. It works on soothing and reducing inflammation in the stomach and esophagus lining in the very same way that it works to soothe other burns and pains. It not only helps get rid of pain in back of neck when swallowing, but helps to heal the source of the problem too.

What to do:

  • Extract the gel from a fresh aloe vera chute.
  • Add 1 tsp for each cup of water to mix aloe vera juice.
  • Drink this juice several times a day until symptoms improve.

apple cider vinegar next to apples on table

8. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider is the one remedy which will work to relieve pain in back of neck when swallowing whether your condition is from GERD or a muscle strain. Its anti-inflammatory properties help with both conditions and it also helps to neutralize stomach acid.

What to do:

  • For GERD: Add 1 Tbsp of organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of warm water. Drink this mixture 20 to 30 minutes before each meal. Do this daily until results are achieved.
  • For muscle strain: Submerge a paper towel in apple cider vinegar. Place the paper towel on the affected area. Allow it to sit for a couple hours. Repeat two times a day until the pain is gone.

9. Ice Packs

For bringing down inflammation and getting rid of muscle pain, ice is one of the simplest and most effective remedies. If pain in back of neck when swallowing is caused by a muscle strain, this is one of the first remedies to consider.

What to do:

  • Place crushed ice cubes in a plastic bag or grab a bag of frozen peas out of the freezer.
  • Use a thin towel to wrap the bag.
  • Place the wrapped bag on the affected area for up to 15 minutes at a time.
  • Repeat this every 2 to 3 hours for the first 24 to 48 hours.

10. Epsom Salt

Not many things relieve muscle tension and strains like an Epsom salt bath. The high content of magnesium in magnesium sulfate (which is the true chemical makeup of Epsom salt) helps to relax stiff muscles and muscle spasms. The relief of this muscle tension with probably also relieve the pain in back of neck when swallowing.

What to do:

  • Dissolve 2 cups of Epsom salt in a warm bath.
  • Soak in the solution, submerging your neck in it, for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Repeat this daily until you achieve the desired result.

11. Stretching

Stretching and range of motion exercises can help to relief the stiffness and tension in your neck and as a result also rid you of the pain in back of neck when swallowing. The stress reduction and improved circulation will help bring the relief you seek.

What to do:

  • Before performing these exercises apply moist heat to the affected area.
  • Begin by rotate your neck in a slow, clockwise, circular motion.
  • After several repetitions reverse direction.
  • Continue this until the stiffness begins to loosen up.
  • Following neck rotations, tilt your head from side to side to each of your shoulders several times.
  • After the stiffness loosens, tilt your head front to back several times as well.
  • Repeat each exercise 5 times per session and do those sessions 3 times a day.

12. Cayenne Pepper

This remedy definitely would not work for pain in back of neck when swallowing that is related to GERD, but it is very effective for muscle strains. Capsaicin found in cayenne pepper has both an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect to help bring you muscle strain and stiffness relief.

What to do:

  • Mix 1 tsp of cayenne pepper into 2 Tbsp of warm olive oil.
  • Massage the mixture into the affected area.
  • Repeat this remedy several times a day until the pain is gone.

essential oils in jar

13. Lavender Oil

An effective essential oil for pain in back of neck when swallowing is lavender oil. One of the most commonly used essential oils in massage therapy, lavender helps promote relaxation and reduce inflammation. It doesn’t smell bad either.

What to do:

  • Before the massage, take a hot bath or shower to relax your muscles.
  • Mix 3 to 4 drops of lavender oil in 1 Tbsp of coconut or olive oil.
  • Applying gentle pressure to the affected area, use the oil mixture to massage in circular motions for about 10 minutes.
  • You can do this daily as necessary.

14. Turmeric

Inflammation from a muscle strain is a likely cause of the pain in back of neck when swallowing. That inflammation can be best eliminated through the use of turmeric. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin is an anti-inflammatory phytochemical which is so potent, it is even more effective that most OTC pain and inflammation drugs.

What to do:

  • Warm 1 cup of milk, just slightly.
  • Add in 1 tsp of powdered turmeric and a pinch of black pepper.
  • Mix in 1 tsp of honey and continue to mix well as you drink this mixture.
  • Repeat this remedy 2 to 3 times a day.

15. Blackstrap Molasses

One of the best places to get all of the essential minerals for relieving muscle strains is blackstrap molasses. Because of the high content of 7 minerals in BSM, mainly magnesium, potassium and calcium, relaxation, the reduction of spasms and healing can be achieved. This healing will get rid of the pain in back of neck when swallowing and have you feeling better in no time.

What to do:

  • Add 1 Tbsp of blackstrap molasses to a glass of warm water and mix well.
  • Drink this mixture 2 to 3 times a day until you see the desired results.

Summing Up

Because pain in back of neck when swallowing can be a symptom of both a muscle strain and GERD, you really have to consider treating both conditions. After trying several of our home remedies, you are sure to get the relief you need and be able to get back to your normal routine without any pain at all.

If you have questions, comments or additional remedies to add to either condition in our list, please add them in the section below.