Neck tension or stiffness from stress at work or sleeping in the wrong position can create continued discomfort. Here is a simple exercise to alleviate the pain without taking over the counter pain relievers.
Take a stretch band doubled up like in the picture and apply resistance to the area. Move or turn the head to the left and right and then up and down slowly against the resistance. This stretches the muscles in the neck like a massage. It also increases blood flow to the area which helps with relief as well.