Neck muscle spasms are considered as a severely painful condition. It can be caused by stress, lifting heavy loads and poor posture. Spasms are a sudden spontaneous contraction or seizure movement. Neck muscle spasms happen due to whiplash from a vehicular collision, injuries from sports, overuse and straining of the muscles of the neck.
Causes of neck muscle spasms
- Neck muscle spasms can be caused by arthritis which involves the inflammation of the joints. Specifically, osteoarthritis is caused by the tearing and wearing off of the joints and cartilages and eventually damages the surrounding soft tissues, muscles and nerves.
- Herniated disc can also cause tingling and numbness sensation, weakness of the muscle and spasms in the neck.
- Muscle strain can be caused by vehicular accidents, injuries from sports and slip and fall injuries. Muscle strains happen when the muscle is overstretched which results to tearing of the muscle fibers which can range from mild micro-tearing to complete muscle rupture.
- Poor posture with muscle spasms causes pain in the neck. This can be caused by an overuse injury where muscles of the neck become strained due to long periods of poor posture.
- Apply pressure immediately in the neck. Press the affected muscles using the palm or fingers and apply pressure as tolerated to stop the neck muscles spasms immediately. Massage the affected area at least 2-3 minutes until the neck muscle spasms can no longer be felt.
- Move the neck slowly from one side to the other. This moving action of the neck keeps the muscles moving rather than the spasms. Stretch the neck on one side and remain in that position for at least a few seconds and then move on to the other side.
- Take a hot shower. Allow the hot water to flow over the affected neck for a few minutes until the spasms in the neck stops.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to lessen the pain and inflammation caused by the neck muscle spasms.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected neck for at least 20 minutes every hour on the first 2 days after the injury to lessen the spasms. Avoid applying the ice pack directly on the skin. It should be wrapped using a small towel before it is applied on the affected area to prevent frostbite that can worsen the condition. After a few days, apply heat on the area. All you have to do is soak a soft cotton cloth in a bowl filled with hot water, wring out excess water and apply on the affected neck for at least 20 minutes at a time several times every day for 3-4 days until the neck muscle spasms are minimized.
- Minimize engaging in activities for at least a day or two to relieve the spasms. Wear a cervical collar to support the neck while in an upright position and use contour pillows for added support and relief from the pain while resting.