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When you have neck and shoulder pain, cold therapy can be a game changer. That said, it's often tough to find ice packs that fit this part of your body right — they're often either too small or they don't mold well to your body's curves. The best neck and shoulder ice packs are typically big enough to fit this area well and designed to stay in place on their own so you can relax and enjoy the relief.
The right size is perhaps the most important factor in an ice pack for this area. Unlike your wrists or ankles, your shoulders and neck are fairly large and curvy. That's why it usually helps to go with an option that's specifically designed for this area — unless your pain is extremely targeted, in which case small packs can come in handy. Aside from the size, look for features that will help your ice pack stay in place, whether it's soft elastic straps, a compression sleeve design, or wings that spread across your shoulders.
It's also a plus if your ice pack freezes quickly and stays cold for a long duration. And for added versatility, you may want to opt for one that can be used for heat therapy, too.
Of course, you should talk to your doctor first if you're experiencing unusual or chronic pain. But for your run-of-the-mill muscle aches, these are some of the best neck and shoulder ice packs on Amazon.
What's great about it: With more than 500 reviews on Amazon, this popular ice pack is perfect for shoulder and neck aches. It has an extra-large surface area, along with a flexible gel filling that molds easily to the contours of your neck and shoulders. The pack's elastic straps allow you to secure it to your body, so you can experience quick relief without having to hold it in place. Reviewers noted that it's easy to use, freezes quickly, and stays cold for a long time. Best of all, it can be used for heat therapy too — just put it in the microwave or a pot of hot water to get it to the right temperature.
One reviewer wrote: "This is an excellent ice pack with cover. First, it freezes fast and remains cold for a long time during application. I bought this large sized ice pack primarily for my upper back, neck and shoulder pain. It works great both. [...] I highly recommend this product."
What's great about it: On top of getting cold fast (and staying cold for a long time, according to reviewers), this hot and cold ice pack is infused with a soothing herb blend that includes chamomile, peppermint, lavender, lemon grass, flaxseed, and wheat. Designed with wings that cover your neck and shoulders, the aromatherapy ice pack sits comfortably in place on its own, leaving your hands free. Reviewers called it "soft and flexible" — and it has comfortable material that molds to the curves of your body.
One reviewer wrote: "It stays cold or warm depending on your preference it is soft and covers the area I needed. Bought this for shoulder replacement surgery and it worked well."
What's great about it: This super flexible shoulder wrap ice pack is great because it has a little hand pump you can use to squeeze air into it, adding gentle compression therapy to your hot- or cold-pack session. (This feature also helps the pack stay in place). It's big enough to cover your entire shoulder, and the adjustable strap makes it easy to customize the fit.
Many of its 1,000-plus reviews confirmed that it gets cold fast and stays that way for quite a while. The only drawback is it's designed just for your shoulder, not your neck. But if shoulder pain is your primary issue, this may not matter to you. If you're new to compression therapy or have any underlying conditions, however, you should talk to your doctor first before trying this one out.
One reviewer wrote: "This product is exactly what I need. I am petite and was worried that it would be too big. It is easy to adjust to fit my shoulder. I LOVE the pump up pressure sleeve. It holds the cold pack in place. The pressure it provides also feels good on my shoulder. [...] It is comfortable. The strap is not uncomfortable across my breast or back. I place a thin cup towel between the cold pack and my shoulder. The pack stays cold for about an hour and remains cool for several hours."
What's great about it: If you'd rather target a specific spot on your neck or shoulders (instead of making the whole area cold), these small round ice packs work beautifully. They come in a five-pack that can be used individually or worn on different body parts simultaneously, targeting multiple spots. They are flexible and comfortable, with soft fabric on the back to protect your skin. On top of that, they freeze quickly (thanks in part to their petite size) and remain cool for a long time. Plus, you can use them hot or cold.
One reviewer wrote: "These are the best ice packs ever. I love them for back pain, small cramps, neck pain, foot pain, sunburns. You never know when you want an ice pack! The gel inside remains moveable which makes it better than ice."