Involuntary contraction of the muscles in neck is described as 'neck spasm'. Such sudden contraction is so painful that the person is unable to turn his head. It can even lead to a bad headache and backache. Movement of the arms, back, head or any normal movement of the body can trigger pain in the neck.
Neck Spasm Causes
- Aging: Frequency of cramps increases with aging
- Dehydration: Lack of sufficient water in the body
- Trauma: Car accident, sports injury
- Posture: Sleeping in an uncomfortable position
- Bone Injury: Due to trauma or disorders like spondylosis
- Vigorous Activity: Intensive exercises, sport activities
- Certain Chronic Diseases: Diseases of the muscles or bones, poor blood circulation
- Medication: Diuretics can cause loss of body fluid and loss of important minerals
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Deficiency of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, etc.
Although muscle cramps are common in adults, children can also suffer from neck spasm, as they play and exercise a lot. When the involuntarily contracted muscle does not relax (normally it should), the condition is called 'spasm'. When the spasm is quite severe and experienced for a longer period of time, it is referred to as a 'cramp'. Along with the causes, you should check the symptoms too. Stiffness and pain in the neck area and restricted movement of the neck are some of the common neck spasm symptoms. A spasm can cause hardening of the involved muscle(s). If the symptoms are severe, you should consult your physician immediately. Home remedies for neck muscle spasm relief are described below. For milder symptoms, these are quite effective.
Home Remedies for Neck Spasm Relief
Massage: Neck spasm treatment mainly involves massaging the affected area with essential oils or balms. A gentle massage helps the muscle to relax. It improves circulation of blood in the area. An expert masseuse or you yourself can rub the muscle gently. This helps relieve the pain. You can even use a small massage machine to relieve pain in the neck. Over-the-counter balms or creams usually contain menthol, which raises the temperature of the affected area. Medications in the balms or creams improve blood circulation in the neck, and this promotes fast relaxation of the strained muscle.
Medications: You can take over-the-counter pain relievers for neck pain relief. Common medications like ibuprofen or naproxen promote neck pain relief, and they also help lower the swelling in the neck. Your health care provider may prescribe some muscle relaxants. These medications facilitate gentle neck movement, and accelerate the healing process.
Neck Exercises: Even though movement of the neck triggers pain, you are supposed to move it gently. Performing neck spasm exercises is an important part of neck spasm treatment. Gentle stretching of the muscle helps bring back the muscle to its original condition.
Ice and Heat: Since you are looking for neck spasm relief, let me inform you about one of the most effective ways of relieving the pain. Applying ice and heating the area with a hot water bag offers immediate pain relief. This helps you move the neck gently. A hot water bath also works great for neck pain. Adding Epsom salt to the bathing water helps get rid of the pain and discomfort faster. It helps reduce the swelling of the sprain and promotes relaxation of the muscle.
Herbal Remedies: Herbal packs, when applied on the neck, help get rid of neck spasm pain. Herbs like chamomile, kava root, valerian, catnip, horseradish, licorice, etc., promote relaxation of the stiffened neck muscle. These herbs carry anti-inflammatory properties. Adding a few drops of horseradish oil to the bathing water helps get rid of neck pain. It is one of the traditional home remedies for a crick in the neck.
Rest: Providing sufficient rest to the neck is essential if you are expecting a fast recovery. As the neck muscles have to bear the weight of the head while standing, you should lie down and rest. If you want to sit or stand, you can use a belt around the neck, on which your face can rest. If you don't have a belt, you can just cover your neck with a thick towel cloth and create a resting platform for your face.
This was an overview of the home remedies that soothe cramped neck muscles. But taking into consideration the causes of muscle spasms, you need to check whether you are following a healthy diet and providing the body all the essential nutrients in proper proportions. Drinking plenty of water and healthy drinks like milk, milkshakes, fruit juices, soups, etc., keeps the body well hydrated. Maintaining a perfect posture while standing, sitting or sleeping, helps prevent muscle spasms.
Following the instructions of the doctor religiously helps lower the symptoms of chronic diseases. If you often experience muscle spasms, then you need to consult your physician. Experiencing a muscle spasm once in a while is quite normal. These remedies promote fast recovery. You will be able to turn your neck within a few hours or within a day. Recovery time may vary according to the severity of the symptoms.