What are neck spasms?
Neck spasms are involuntary contractions of the muscles in your neck. The muscles get tight, hard, and painful.
Causes of neck spasm?
Neck spasms may happen from an injury, overuse, poor posture, or stress. For example, it is common for people who do a lot of computer work to get a stiff neck. Spasms may even occur from an uncomfortable night’s sleep.
Symptoms oof neck spasm?
The muscles in your neck feel hard, tight, and painful. When the muscles that extend from your shoulders to your head go into spasm, the spasms may even cause headaches. You may have tender spots in your neck, sometimes called trigger points, that cause pain in other places.
Diagnosis of neck spasm?
Your healthcare provider will review your medical history and examine your neck.
Treatment of neck spasm
Spasms are best treated with stretching exercises.
You may be able to massage your neck yourself by finding the tight muscles and putting deep pressure on these muscles. You might also get a massage from a friend or therapist.
Your healthcare provider may recommend an anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, or may prescribe a muscle relaxant. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age. Read the label and take as directed. Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, do not take for more than 10 days.
Right after the injury, put an ice pack, gel pack, or package of frozen vegetables, wrapped in a cloth on the area every 3 to 4 hours, for up to 20 minutes at a time.
Sometimes, especially with recurrent spasms, moist heat can help. You can buy a moist-heat pad or make your own by soaking towels in hot water. Put moist heat on your neck for up to 20 minutes at a time every 3 or 4 hours until the pain goes away.
Your healthcare provider may recommend seeing a physical therapist for an exercise program and other treatments.
If the above treatments do not help, provider may give you an injection of a corticosteroid medicine or an anesthetic into the muscle.
Neck spasms are a common physical symptom caused by stress or depression. Talk with a counselor, if your neck pain is related to tension caused by emotional problems.
How long will the effects last?
Pain from neck spasms may last a few days to a few weeks. You need to stop doing the activities that cause pain until your muscle has healed. If you continue doing activities that cause pain, your symptoms will return and it will take longer to recover.
When can I return to my sport or activity?
You may return to your sport or activity when:
- You no longer have neck pain.
- You can move your neck fully and comfortably.
How can I help prevent neck spasms?
Know what you can do about the common causes of neck spasm: overuse, stress, and poor posture. For example, use good posture when you work at a computer, take frequent breaks, and stretch your neck muscles.
When you first feel tightness or pain in your neck, start the treatment that has helped you the most. Treating early, mild symptoms right away can often stop the symptoms from becoming worse.
Physiotherepy of neck spasm
Neck Spasm Exercises
You may do all of these exercises right away but avoid any movements that increase your pain.
Neck rotation with flexion:
Turn your head to the right and clasp your hands behind your head. Let the weight of your arms pull your chin to the right side of your chest. Relax. Hold for a count of 15. Do this 3 times.
Turn your head to the left and clasp your hands behind your head. Let the weight of your arms pull your chin to the left side of your chest. Relax. Hold for a count of 15. Do this 3 times.
Place your fingertips on your chin and gently push your head straight back as if you are trying to make a double chin. Keep looking forward as your head moves back. Hold 5 seconds and repeat 5 times.
Sit or stand and clasp both hands behind your back. Lower your left shoulder and tilt your head toward the right until you feel a stretch. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then come back to the starting position. Then lower your right shoulder and tilt your head toward the left. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each side.
Neck rotation stretch
Rotate your neck by looking over your right shoulder. Lift your right hand and place your palm on the left side of your chin. Push your chin with your palm toward your right shoulder. Hold for a count of 10. Do this 3 times.
Rotate your neck by looking over your left shoulder. Lift your left hand and place your palm on the right side of your chin. Push your chin with your palm toward your left shoulder. Hold for a count of 10. Do this 3 times.
While sitting or standing with your arms by your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 5 seconds. Do 2 sets of 15.
Sit in a chair and clasp both arms behind your head. Gently arch backward and look up toward the ceiling. Repeat 10 times. Do this several times each day.
Deep Neck Flexor Exercise:
Lie on your back on a firm surface. Keep your mouth closed and teeth slightly apart. Try to nod your head by moving your chin toward your throat without lifting your head. Hold 3 seconds and then slowly go back to your starting position. Begin with 2 sets of 5 repetitions and, as it gets easier to do, move to 2 sets of 10 repetitions.