Neck Spasms: Causes, Treatments, and Exercises
Ever noticed an involuntary tightening or stiffening of your neck muscles? Or have you experienced pain when trying to turn your head or rotate your neck? If you have noticed any of these issues, there is a high chance you are experiencing neck spasms as 20% to 70% of adults experience this.
Neck spasms can be very uncomfortable and stressful, and this is why you need to look for remedies to get you out of this pain. But just before you decide on the perfect way to get rid of this pain, you need to know what neck spasm means and how it works.
What Are Neck Spasms?
Neck spasms are the excruciating pains from the involuntary constrictions of the neck muscles. Of course, spasms can happen in any body part; however, pains from neck spasms seem the most dangerous to health, as they can last for days, even after the constrictions ease.
Neck spasms can be very painful as you will feel the pain throughout your neck and shoulder. It can restrict you from going about with your daily activities. You need to take care of the neck pain as soon as possible.
A neck spasm can cause severe and sharp pain to your neck and shoulder. They can also cause dizziness, tingling, headache, stiff neck and shoulders, and more.
You can relieve yourself of the pain caused by muscle spasms by taking over the counter medication. You can take medical advice on how to take care of the stiff muscles. You can also visit a professional to help with your discomfort.
Causes of Neck Spasms
Several things can lead to neck spasms. From emotional stress to poor posturing, muscle tension, meningitis, cervical spondylosis, and spinal stenosis, neck spasms are majorly caused by the stressing of the major neck muscles – levator scapulae, trapezius, and erector spinae attached to the cervical spine.
Here is a summarized list of common causes of neck spasms:
- Emotional stress
- Poor posturing
- Poor sleep positioning
- Sudden neck movement
- Carrying heavy weight
Other severe causes include:
- Spinal stenosis
- Cervical spondylosis
- Herniated disc
- Facet joint disorder
Treatment for Neck Spasm
No one is comfortable with pain, so the treatment of neck spasms is essential. There are several ways you can take care of this neck pain, including these common treatments:
- Anti-inflammatory medicine- You can take anti-inflammatory medicines to treat neck spasms.
- Muscle relaxants- Muscle relaxants will also do a good job of relaxing stiff neck muscles, therefore reducing your pain.
- Pain relief medication- You can take pain medicines to help get rid of your neck pain.
- Steroids / anesthetic injections- Taking these injections will also help but should be used only when other treatments proved abortive.
You also need to know more about neck pain and how to handle it. Your surest bet to treat neck spasms might be taking advice from a professional. Your doctor might recommend physical therapy or other treatments suitable for your situation.
Exercises for Neck Spasm
Indeed, doing exercises has proven to be one of the best ways to treat neck spasms. Here are a few exercises that can be done to ease this pain.
Neck Tilting with Flexion
A simple neck tilting and flexion can be performed when mild aching or soreness is felt on the neck.
Slowly rotate your neck to the left and deepen the movement by gently pressing your chin against your left shoulder. Hold this position for about a minute. Repeat this procedure on your right side. Perform the exercise about 3 to 4 times.
To perform a neck flexion, while rotating your neck, clasp both of your hands directly behind your head, pull your head, using your clasped hands behind it, till your chin almost touches the clavicle bone of the chest. Relax, and repeat the motion four times.
An active scalene stretch helps stretch the constricted neck muscles attached to the ribs.
- Stand or sit upright while clasping both your arms behind your back.
- Tilt your neck to the right while lowering your left shoulder.
- Keep the position for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Relax and release your neck and shoulders.
- Repeat the process on the other side by lowering your right shoulder and tiling your neck to the left.
This can be repeated a maximum of 5 times to avoid cervical pain.
Although a scapular squeeze is done with and on the shoulder, it helps greatly ease neck spasms in the muscles connecting the shoulders to the neck.
How to: Most effective when sitting, raise your arms to shoulder height, and bend your palms and elbows forward. Force your shoulders backward slowly to squeeze your shoulder blades (scapula). Return to the starting point and repeat this 3 or 4 times.
Neck Side Bends
A very comforting way to ease neck spasms is performing neck side bends.
- Bend your head to the left, bringing your ear very close to your shoulder.
- Try using your hand if it seems difficult.
- Hold the position for about 30 seconds.
- Bring your head to the right, and repeat the process on the other side.
- Repeat this up to 4 times.
These exercises can be done right away; however, avoid movement while exercising to avoid further external pains.