The shoulder joints are one of the most movable joints of our body. The muscles, tendons and ligaments present in this region add stability to its structure and enable it to make a wide range of motions. When there is a spasm in the shoulder muscle, it contracts involuntarily and becomes tight and rigid. As a result, the blood supply to the muscles get affected and it gives rise to a sudden sharp shoulder pain. The intensity of the pain may vary from mild to acute. In some cases, the pain is just confined to the shoulder area only and in others, it may get extended up to the arms.
There are several factors that can contribute towards spasms in the shoulder muscles.
Muscle spasm can be triggered by overuse of the muscles during exercises or sports activities. These muscles often get overstretched while doing strenuous physical activities like lifting of heavy objects or reaching out to objects kept high in the shelves. Mental stress also leads to muscle spasms.
As we grow old, the soft connective tissues of the muscles suffer degeneration and are at a higher risk of getting injured which in turn trigger cramps in them.
If the body gets dehydrated, then there could be deficiency of salts and electrolyte in the muscles which make them weak and it may result in spasms.
Poor posture while sleeping or sitting at the office desk is another major cause behind muscle spasms.
Wrong Diet / Toxins
Poor nutrition and exposure to toxic chemicals can also lead to bad cramps in shoulder muscles.
There are various measures that can be taken for the relaxation of cramped shoulder muscles. A few effective treatments for this condition are as follows:
When you have spasms in the shoulder muscles, take plenty of rest for the next two days. Suspend all such activities that can strain the muscles and aggravate the pain. To ease off the tension from these muscles, you must either lie down flat on the floor or sit on a chair with a back rest for proper support.
Application of Ice
This will have a soothing effect on the painful taut muscles of the shoulder. Wrap up a few ice cubes in a small towel and apply it over the injury site for 15-20 minutes and not more than that. This should be repeated three to four times daily in the first 48 hours.
Application of Heat
If the ice application does not show any results, then heat needs to be applied. This improves the blood circulation to the injured muscles and provides a lot of relief from the muscle pain and tightness. You can apply the heat to the shoulder with the help of a heating pad or you can take a warm bath to relax the tightened muscles.
A massage therapist first identifies the location of the cramped muscles. Then he starts massaging the area in order to loosen it up. This helps bring down the pain. Many people find a good massage highly beneficial for a pulled shoulder muscle.
If the spasms continue to bother you even after two days of home treatments, then you must seek medical help. Doctors prescribe painkillers to bring down the pain and inflammation. For a severe injury, they may suggest wearing of a sling to keep the injured shoulder stable. In those cases where frequent spasms occur because of poor nutrition, they recommend intake of vitamin supplements or any other nutritional supplements to improve the overall health condition.
Once you have recovered, you must try to prevent its recurrence. Eat foods that are rich in proteins and carbohydrates to build up healthy muscles. Do some shoulder exercises regularly to add strength and flexibility to the muscles. They help develop resistance towards muscle fatigue. While exercising, keep your body hydrated to prevent any kind of muscle injury.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.