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Last updated: Oct 6, 2021

Muscle Spasms in the Neck

That insufferable twitching in your neck may be a signal that you need medical help to find the source of the spasms and finally get some relief. Muscle spasms usually respond well to lifestyle changes, but only when prescribed by an experienced neck doctor who knows what to look for and how to treat your neck issues. Redefine Healthcare has four convenient locations for new patients with muscle spasms in the neck. Call for an appointment.

Muscle Spasms in the NeckWhen a muscle becomes tight or tired, it may spasm. Because your neck is involved in so many activities, muscle spasms in the neck potentially hinder exercising, driving, lifting, and even working at a desk.

Your neck is one of the most unprotected parts of your body and is vital to everyday activities.

Have it checked out at Redefine Healthcare in northern New Jersey. It’s a pain management clinic where specialists find the cause of the spasms and begin effective treatment.

Neck muscle spasms may result from a muscle trying to protect itself from overuse, strain, or fatigue. Spinal instability or abnormal nerve pathways may also contribute. Although doctors previously believed that dehydration caused an electrolyte imbalance and contributed to muscle spasms, evidence hasn’t supported that theory.

Symptoms of Neck Muscle Spasms

Neck spasms usually occur suddenly. Occasionally, they may develop gradually. Regardless, symptoms remain the same and include:

  • A twitching feeling as the muscle continuously contracts and relaxes in a quick fashion
  • Neck pain that’s constant or throbbing — and may range from dull and bothersome to sharp and debilitating
  • A burning sensation that often travels down one arm
  • Cramping from when the muscle contracts but can’t relax
  • A knot of sore or painful tissue that develops
  • Decreased range of motion
  • A stiff neck that limits your ability to turn your head in one or more directions
  • Headaches that result from the spasms, referred pain, or the continued stress of discomfort

You may experience varying levels of neck muscle spasm intensity. If a spasm attack develops into strong contractions that pull your head to one side, you may also experience dizziness, balance concerns, vision changes, blurry vision, and fatigue from the pain of continuous muscles contractions. Check in at Redefine Healthcare to ensure your neck muscle spasms don’t become chronic.

Causes of Muscle Spasms in the Neck

The underlying reasons for neck muscle spasms can be as simple as strain or fatigue. But they can also be much more complex. Diagnosing the correct cause of your spasms allows treatment to proceed.

Some potential causes include:

  • Overexertion or muscle fatigue. Many athletes who hit balls with bats or rackets do weightlifting. Others experience bruising hits. All are at risk for developing muscle fatigue leading to spasms.
  • An injury or accident. When a muscle stretches farther than it usually does, or you injure a nearby ligament, it may result in spasms as the muscle tries to protect itself or the adjoining ligament.
  • Mechanical dysfunction. Any dysfunction of your neck and shoulder mechanics limits the joint, muscles, ligaments, and supportive tissue from moving through the normal range of motion. These dysfunctions may include injury, poor posture, bone spurs, or congenital abnormalities.
  • Arthritis. In the facet joints becomes a common issue due to aging. The protective cartilage wears away, and the adjoining vertebrae rub and grind against each other, causing inflammation, nerve damage, and neck muscle spasms.
  • Nerve damage. The peripheral nerves that branch from the spine to other parts of your body can malfunction or be injured. Also called neuropathy, these signals may fire too frequently or not often enough, leading to muscle spasms, reflex and sensory frustrations, and motor function issues.
  • Herniated discs. Discs in your neck act the same as the discs in your spine to provide cushioning between your vertebrae. Overuse, injury, aging, or malformations of the spine may cause the discs to flatten and leak with the accompanying inflammation, triggering uncomfortable spasms.
  • Myofascial neck pain. This condition results from a pain syndrome that affects the muscles and connective tissue or fascia. Tightness, pain, and spasms commonly occur.
  • Text neck. Spending an excessive amount of time bent over a phone or another electronic device places your neck in a strained position for extended periods. Besides tight and sore muscles, your neck may develop spasms to protect fatigued tissue.

Neck Muscle Spasm Treatment

The good news is that most neck muscle spasms resolve themselves over a few days or weeks. Self-care practices help quicken relief as well as prevent further spasms and discomfort.

Your doctor may recommend home treatments, such as:

  • Heat to loosen tightened muscles and calm spasms
  • Ice to provide pain relief
  • Over-the-counter medication to fight discomfort
  • Prescription pain relievers or muscle relaxants to control symptoms until fatigued muscles can rest

You may also try therapeutic massage to help loosen constricted tissue and provide overall stress relief. Your doctor may provide advice to improve your poster while sitting, standing, or working to align your neck and spine. Consider reducing time spent on smartphones or tablets that place strain on your neck and shoulders. Contact your doctor at Redefine Healthcare today about your best neck muscle spasm treatment options.

This page was published on Oct 9, 2019, modified on Oct 6, 2021 by Dr. Freeman (Pain Management Specialist) of Redefine Healthcare
Dr. Eric D. Freeman, a highly regarded pain specialist

Dr. Eric D. Freeman is a top-rated, best-in-class pain management doctor. He is a nationally recognized pain relief specialist and is among the top pain care doctors in New Jersey and the country. He is an award-winning expert and contributor to prominent media outlets.

Dr. Eric D. Freeman has been recognized for his thoughtful, thorough, modern approach to treating chronic pain. He has been named a "top pain management doctor in New Jersey" and one of "America’s Top Physicians" for advanced sports injury treatments.

Learns more about Dr. Freeman | Dr. Freeman's Scholar

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