Muscle Spasms in Neck and Shoulder

Risk factors for shoulder and neck muscle spasms include athletic activity, heavy lifting, throwing, moving luggage or other heavy objects, and aging.

What are neck spasms? A spasm is an involuntary tightening of muscle in an offered body part. It frequently triggers extreme pain. This discomfort can last for minutes, hours, or days after the muscle relaxes and the spasm subsides. Spasms can take place anywhere there is muscle on your body, including your neck.

Neck and Shoulder Spasm Symptoms

When you experience a neck spasm, you’ll feel an abrupt, sharp pain in several parts of your neck, deep in the muscle tissue. You might also discover that the affected muscle seems difficult or tight. It may be painful to move your neck around.

How to Treat the Spasm

Most common, nonserious causes of neck spasms can be treated without medical intervention. Keep checking out to find out valuable exercises and natural home remedy you can use to ease your neck spasms now.

1. Exercises

Attempt these three simple stretches in the house or work to alleviate neck discomfort and spasms:

Basic neck stretch

  1. Sit or stand with your head looking forward.
  2. Holding your hands loosely behind your head, use your neck to turn your head to the right.
  3. Utilize your arms to carefully press your chin to the right side of your chest.
  4. Stay unwinded and hold your head to your chest for 15 seconds.
  5. Repeat this stretch 3 times on each side.

Scalene stretch

  1. Sit or stand with both hands held together behind your back.
  2. Press one shoulder down and tilt your head the opposite side until you feel a gentle stretch in your neck.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and then go back to the beginning position.
  4. Repeat this stretch 3 times on each side.

Head lift with neck curl

  1. Lie on your back on a flat surface area with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Tuck your chin into your chest and lift your head about three inches off of the floor while keeping your shoulders flat on the flooring.
  3. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat five times.
  5. As you continue doing this exercise, attempt working your way approximately holding your head up for 20 to 30 seconds.

2. Home Remedy


OTC pain relievers might help reduce neck pain. These include:

Information verified by the team.
  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
  • naproxen sodium (Aleve).
  • acetaminophen (Tylenol).

OTC painkillers ease muscle stress by reducing inflammation that can worsen the pain of a neck spasm. Follow the dose instructions on the medication you opt to use carefully. Some OTC painkiller can be damaging when used in excess.

Ice packs

Ice has long been used as a pain-relieving treatment. Specialists state that ice works as a short-term pain reliever for the muscles, especially when utilized repeatedly over hours or days. While the precise pain-relieving properties of ice are unclear, it appears that ice dulls nerve action therefore can stop or lower the intensity of muscles spasms, consisting of those in the shoulder and lower part of neck.

Ice packs or cubes of ice put in a bag should never ever be put directly on the skin. Rather, location your ice bag or bag of ice in between the folds of a towel. Obtain a maximum of 10 minutes at a time. You can reapply as often as once an hour.

3. Massage

Massage is another efficient short-term home treatment for neck shoulder muscles spasms. Pressure to the neck muscles can promote relaxation and relieve stress, relieving a neck spasm. One research study from 2014 discovered that even short massage treatments can significantly lower neck pain.

You can provide yourself a massage by pushing carefully but securely into the tight part of your neck and making little circles with your fingers. Or, ask a pal or member of the family to do so.

4. Other Treatment Options for Muscle Spasms in Neck and Shoulder

  • Moist heat: Sometimes, particularly with reoccurring spasms, damp heat can assist. Damp heat consists of heat patches or wet heating pads that you can acquire at a lot of pharmacies, a damp washcloth or towel that has been heated in the dryer, or a hot shower. Don’t utilize heat if you have swelling.
  • Physical treatment: Your healthcare provider may suggest seeing a physiotherapist for an exercise program and other treatments.
  • Injection: If the above treatments do not help, supplier may give you a shot of a steroid medication or an anesthetic into the muscle.
  • Tension management: Neck spasms are a typical physical symptom caused by stress or anxiety. Talk with a therapist, if your neck discomfort is associated with tension brought on by emotional issues.

What Causes Shoulder and Neck Spasm

There are many possible causes for shoulder and neck spasms. Some common causes include:

  • positioning a great deal of weight on one shoulder with a heavy bag.
  • bring something very heavy with one or both arms.
  • positioning the neck in an unnatural position for an extended time period, such as when nestling a phone in between the shoulder and ear, or keeping your neck in an odd position when sleeping.
  • cervical spondylosis, a condition marked by degeneration in the spine.
  • psychological stress.
  • headache.
  • stress throughout workout.
  • poor posture (slouching or tilting the head).
  • dehydration.

Less common however more major causes of muscle spasms in neck and shoulder include:

  • meningitis, a really major infection causing swelling in the brain and spine.
  • ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory condition that causes some vertebrae in the spinal column to fuse.
  • cervical dystonia, likewise referred to as torticollis, a condition where neck muscles tighten involuntarily and make the head twist to one side.
  • spine stenosis, the narrowing of the open spaces in the spine.
  • temporomandibular joint disorders, referred to as TMJ or TMD, which impact the jaw and muscles that surround it.
  • injury from accidents or falls.
  • whiplash.
  • herniated disk.

When to call your physician

Some reasons for neck spasm are more serious than others. Make certain to call your doctor immediately if your symptoms don’t get better after a week or if your neck discomfort is the outcome of an injury or fall. You should also call your medical professional if neck discomfort or spasms keep you up in the evening.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of meningitis, you should seek emergency medical attention:

  • abrupt high fever and chills.
  • headache.
  • stiff neck.
  • purple areas on the skin that look like bruises.
Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures.

Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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Add a comment
  1. Lory

    I had cramps in my neck for a long time. I suffered a little, but then I turned to a massage therapist and now i feel better…

  2. Dale Hauser

    When I occasionally get a bad muscle cramp I immediately swallow 2 table spoons of common yellow mustard and it usually subsides in a few seconds. I keep the little plastic mustard filled squeeze packets in my car at all times and do 3 or 4 if I get a cramp while driving. Works for me.