When your neck muscles tighten suddenly and involuntarily, it means that you are suffering a muscle spasm. Your neck will not only become very rigid and stiff; it could also get so bad that you cannot even turn your head. Awkward movements of your neck or muscle tension resulting from stress can all result in a neck spasm. Are you looking for ways to relieve neck pain? If so, here is a quick guide to obtaining relief:
Stretch After a Muscle Spasm
If your neck muscles are spasming, one of the best ways to relax them would be to stretch them out. Stretching is an effective method to make your muscles loose and soft again after they have become tremendously tight after a spasm.
You will need to perform a procedure to stretch your lateral neck muscles. Keep your shoulders in position and then proceed to tilt your ear against your shoulder. Keep doing this until you feel the side of your neck stretching out. Additionally, you need to remember that the key to these stretches is to test out the waters. If a certain movement is causing pain, simply try a different one.
Treat Yourself to a Massage
A massage can be one of the most relaxing things you can for the tight muscles in your neck. By doing this, you can cause them to calm down and not be so tense. One of the things that a massage will do is to work on the stiff, tender points within your neck, causing these stiff muscles to be released and restore the range of motion within your neck.
Think about NSAIDs
These over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) will go a long way to reduce any of the inflamed tissue that is present because of your muscle spasm. Examples such as naproxen (Aleve), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and others will relieve the pain brought on by a neck spasm. No, they won’t treat the underlying issues that brought on your neck spasm (such as a herniated disc), but they will provide you with fast-acting relief to reduce your neck pain.
Of course, you should be sure to read and understand the warning label before using any type of medication. You also should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are already using a different medication before adding one.
Applying Cold or Heat Therapy After a Muscle Spasm
Cold therapy can assist you in diminishing your localized inflammation. It can be a great way to relieve the pain in your neck. The proper procedure is to fill up a plastic bag and place ice and water inside it. Finally, match it up with a thin towel and wrap it against the painful area in your neck. It should help you reduce your symptoms.
Heat therapy can also help you find relief. This therapy can work wonders when you use a heating pad and place it on a low setting and apply it to the tender part of your neck.
Additionally, you can also use it by simply standing in a shower using a soft stream of water and hitting upon these painful muscles. Furthermore, this warmth will soothe your pain by increasing blood flow to the affecting area and relax your muscles as a result.
However, there are some caveats to this method. Make sure that you only apply these compresses at a rate of only 15 minutes every two hours so that you avoid damaging your skin.
Perform Neck Relaxation Exercises
If you have a neck spasm, then chances are it could mean that you have had your neck in some unnatural poses. Thus, one of the things you can do would be to simply relax your neck muscles. One good technique would be to use a cervical pillow and lie on your back, letting it rest directly under your neck. You also could place a pillow below your knees. Put on some relaxing music or a nice podcast and it will help add to the peaceful atmosphere.
When Should I See My Doctor?
Neck spasms could be the result of unexpected muscle strain. It should heal itself by one week or less. However, if your muscle spasm is marked by persistent pain or worsening pain, it could indicate a serious spinal problem. You should talk to your doctor and see if you have a herniated disc or osteoarthritis.
Moreover, any neck pain that is accompanied by a severe migraine headache, dizziness, arm weakness, or nausea might warrant seeking immediate medical attention. Also, see What is Considered a Back Pain Medical Emergency?
Either way, study your symptoms and follow these tips. You are sure to heal your neck pain in no time!