What Are Muscle Spasms? Spasm is a general term used for defining the sudden uncontrolled contraction of the muscles (or a single muscle). This can be caused due to various reasons or medical conditions which in most of the cases may lead to painful muscles.
Various different kinds of muscles in the body can get affected due to this condition which may show different symptoms.
In general, skeletal muscles are more susceptible to getting pain due to spasms due to the reason that these are overused and dehydrated. The pain caused in the muscles are most of times short lived which may get relieved on its own after a short rest or by performing gentle stretching exercises.
Below we talk in detail about muscle spasms in neck and shoulders, its most common causes, and treatment options.
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What Are Muscle Spasms in Neck?
An involuntary contraction of the muscles present in neck region is termed as ‘neck spasm’?
This sudden contraction of muscles in neck region is so much painful that an affected person is not even able to turn their head to either side.
This may sometimes further lead to bad headache and backache problems, if not treated properly. In severe cases it may even lead to chronic painful conditions.
Neck spasm is not a serious condition to worry about. But in certain cases this may be a symptom of a serious disorder or health condition prevailing in the body.
Symptoms of neck spasms may include stiffness or soreness in muscles, neck and shoulder blade pain, nerve pain, pinched nerve, headache, strain, reduced motion, etc. In severe cases this may also lead to problems such as migraine and dizziness.
What Causes Muscle Spasms In The Neck?
The various causes of neck spasms are bone injury, aging, trauma like car accident or sports injury, poor body posture, dehydration, vigorous activities, nutritional deficiencies, chronic diseases of bones and muscles, etc.
Lack of frequent breaks while working is also one of the main reasons for muscle strains; this can directly be a reason for spasms. Thus working long hours is not ideal; relax your muscles and bones often amidst working.
Quick movement and overstretching can lead to muscle spasm on neck and shoulder, so do not strain much. It is essential to stay away from lifting heavy items or vigorous workout as muscle spasms can also be due to muscle stress.
Overusing neck muscles or using muscles that are injured can cause spasms as well. At times even if the injury is on hand/ arms, it is essential to take rest to avoid neck pains/ spasms.
Too much cold and chill weather is not good for people who have had spasms in the past. Especially when the weather is chill, keep yourselves warm and active.
Apart from these usual occurrences it can also be a cause of side effects of some medications. Medications that causes loss of body fluid and important minerals from body also sometimes causes neck and shoulder spasms.
How To Get Rid Of Neck Muscle Spasms?
Though neck spasms are not a serious issue, it is not ideal to ignore any problem related to neck or areas close to neck. Take immediate actions in case of any doubt. Ignoring this leads to serious issues like losing sensation of shoulder and limbs.
7 Best Home Remedies for Relieving Muscle Spasms in Neck and Shoulders
There are number of muscle spasms in neck and shoulder treatment (including few best home remedies) that can help in treating the condition. Some of these include:
1- Take Rest: For faster recovery from muscle spasms in side of neck and shoulder, providing adequate rest to your neck is very important. Since muscles have to bear the weight of head while standing, so it’s best to lie down and rest for few hours.
Even if you want to sit, try using belt or a brace around your neck so that your face can rest over it. If you do not have belt, cover neck region with thick towel cloth to create resting platform for your face.
2- Get Massage and Hot Showers: Muscle spasms in the neck and shoulder area can be wonderfully treated by massaging the affected area using essential oils or balms. Over-the-counter gels and balms which are used for massage purpose contains menthol which raises the temperature of the affected area. The medications present in such creams and balms improve flow of blood in neck and promotes quick relaxation of tensed muscles.
A gentle massage not only relaxes your affected muscles but also improves circulation of blood in the affected area. You can massage yourself or can hire the services of an expert masseuse for getting the therapeutic benefits of massage. Also there are self neck and shoulder massager tools available which can be purchased for getting the best benefits.
Heat massage is also a great option apart from normal massage. Applying heat using the warm compress method will relax the muscles and will give a relief to the strain. Taking a hot shower and allowing steady stream of hot water to flow down shoulders and neck also helps in treating neck muscle pain caused due to spasms in an effectual way.
3- Neck Exercises: Performing neck spasm exercises, as recommended by your physical therapist can help in treating neck pain caused due to muscle spasms in a great way. Keep in mind that gentle neck stretching of the muscle helps in bringing back muscles to its original condition and can be tried for getting the faster relief.
However if you do not get the relief, do not stress your muscles. Instead try other methods or get in contact with your doctor for getting the best cure.
4- Maintain Good Posture: People who occasionally suffer from neck muscle pain should check their body posture and try to correct in best possible ways. The pain generally occur due to slumping over laptop screen for extended period of time or when you are unable to hold correct position of shoulders and neck while walking.
Always remember that poor posture can badly affect the muscles in your neck region which causes muscle spasms. For neck muscle pain relief, you can purchase a discreet posture brace which helps in maintaining correct body posture.
- Try to avoid sitting and sleeping in unusual postures.
- Standing, sitting and working should be in right ergonomic postures.
- Also you should try avoiding hard pillows if you have any type of neck issues.
5- Try Herbal Remedies: You would be glad to know that there are number of herbal packs available in market which help in treating muscle spasm in neck region. Herbs like licorice, catnip, chamomile, kava root, horseradish and valerian etc, all aids in relaxing stiffed neck muscle and can be used for treating the conditions effectively at home.
These herbs have got amazing anti-inflammatory properties as well. Adding few drops of horseradish oil to your bathing water also help in getting rid of pain in neck and shoulder. This is considered as the best traditional way to treat crick in neck.
6- Helpful Medications: One can also take over-the-counter pain relievers for getting relief from neck pain caused due to muscle spasms in neck and shoulder. Some of the common names of these medications are ibuprofen and naproxen which helps in curing swelling in the neck region.
Your healthcare practitioner can also prescribe you some muscle relaxants which can aid in healing process and at the same time facilitate gentle neck movement. Consult a doctor to check if there are any side effects with the medications that are taken. Avoid them or find better substitutes in case of side effects.
7- Get Hydrated: Muscle spasms can be sometimes due to dehydration, thus drinking water will make you feel better. Drink some water immediately to reduce intensity. Drink lot of water to avoid being dehydrated and being weak as weakness is the main reason for muscle spasms.
There is a very rare requirement for surgery for neck pains. In fact if it is the case of neck and back muscle spasms- surgery is almost not required. Surgery is only an option if neck pain is due to certain disorders and lasts for long.
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