All the muscles in the human body are susceptible to spasms. But once it occurs on the neck, it can cause sharp discomfort every time the head turns. In layman’s terms, this condition is also referred to as having a stiff neck.
Neck muscle spasms can usually last the span of a few hours. In worse cases, the pain and discomfort can last up to a few days. While it can happen without other symptoms, some people complain about experiencing dizziness, headaches, and vision changes. These symptoms are often associated with the inability to hold the head up in a neutral position.
This article will delve deeper into what neck muscle spasms are, some of the symptoms, and what to do when they occur. After reading this, you will hopefully have a better understanding of this condition to choose a remedy that’s right for you.
Nonetheless, we at the Upper Cervical of Monmouth are at your service, should you need a neck pain chiropractor in Monmouth to help you find relief
How Neck Muscles Work
Apart from movement, another primary role of neck muscles is to control speech, swallowing and chewing food, breathing, and performing facial expressions. These muscles are also attached to vital parts of the upper skeletal system, including the bones of the skull, spine, shoulders, and collarbone.
These neck muscles operate with the help of nerves that also control movement. Blood vessels provide much-needed nutrition and energy to the muscle tissue.
The neck muscles enable the head to have a wide range of motion. Not only can it nod and move up and down, but it can also turn sideways. These muscles help the head rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise.
Without the fluidity provided by neck muscles, we wouldn’t be able to do essential movements such as looking over our shoulder, looking both ways before crossing the street and swallowing food and liquids.
The Leading Causes of Neck Muscle Spasms
Generally, a muscle begins to spasm as a reaction to protect itself from too much use or instability. In some cases, it is because it receives improper nerve signals, causing the same response.
You may experience neck muscle spasms when doing typical tasks like lifting a bag that may be a bit too heavy. It also happens when you sleep in an awkward position or use a non-supportive pillow or mattress. Other times, it is caused by things like having poor posture, dehydration, or straining the neck during a strenuous form of exercise.
There are also some unfortunate cases, like being involved in accidents that cause whiplash injuries. The same goes for a herniated disc caused by immense pressure on the neck.
The Treatment Options for Neck Muscle Spasms
There are a good number of options to remedy neck muscle spasms. Some of them are perfect for short-term relief to take away symptoms. But ideally, experts advise getting to the root of the problem and finding a lasting solution.
Nonetheless, here are some of the options you can try:
Over-the-counter pain medication
Most forms of over-the-counter medication intended for neck muscle spasms are the same for body pain relief. You may be advised to take ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, or acetaminophen, all of which you can likely find in your medicine cabinet.
Icing an injury will always be a go-to treatment for pain relief, and it also applies to neck muscle spasms. This method is usually recommended during the first two to three days after the injury.
Applying ice to a spasmed neck muscle can help numb the pain and alleviate the discomfort.
Muscle spasms may need ice first when inflammation needs to go down. But when the condition becomes chronic, heat therapy is recommended.
The heat applied to the affected area may help the muscle relax from its tense state and help regain the normal range of motion, which was impeded by the muscle spasm. Once the muscles are warmed up, gentle stretching and massage may help relieve the tension.
Getting a massage from a good massage therapist may help alleviate the tension. A professional massage therapist will know where to apply pressure to get the desired effect.
Upper cervical chiropractic care for neck muscle spasms
If the muscle spasm in your neck becomes a regularly occurring phenomenon, there’s a chance you may have a misalignment in your spine. The upper part of the neck where it meets the skull may misalign due to some of the same reasons that muscle spasms occur. This specific vertebra is called the atlas, or C1.
The atlas performs several vital tasks, such as balancing the weight of the head, which for the average adult weighs up to 13 pounds. It also protects the brainstem, which is an integral part of the central nervous system. The brainstem acts as the switchboard for the signals traveling through the nerves in the brain to the rest of the body.
A misalignment of the atlas forces the neck into a stressed position to keep the head and eyes balanced and level. Because of this, the neck muscles can spasm, causing that familiar discomfort.
Upper cervical chiropractors at Upper Cervical of Monmouth can assess your spinal alignment and provide an adjustment if necessary. Patients who have undergone an adjustment can attest to its effective and long-lasting results. If you’re looking for a neck pain chiropractor in Monmouth, give us a call today or fill out our contact form here on our website. You can schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss what upper cervical chiropractic can do to help your particular health condition.