Muscle Spasms in the Neck
That insufferable twitching in your neck may actually 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.
When a muscle becomes tight or fatigued, 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 so vital to everyday activities.
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 muscles spasms, that theory hasn’t been supported by evidence.
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 reason for 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 normally 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 the mechanics of your neck and shoulder that limit 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 results from a pain syndrome that affects the muscles and connective tissue or fascia. Tightness, pain and spasms commonly occur.
- Text neck. Spending an inordinate amount of time bent over a phone or another electronic device places your neck in a strained position for extended periods of time. 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.
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