How to Relieve a Neck Muscle Spasm

Neck Muscle Spasm

Neck muscle spasms are described as painful contractions of the muscles in your neck which can’t be voluntarily released. A muscle spasms may also be referred to as a cramp or charley horse.


Neck muscle spasms can be caused by an injury, stress, excessive use, poor posture, or even an unpleasant night of sleep.


Your neck muscles would feel stiff and painful. The spasms usually affect the muscles hat run from your shoulders to your head. You may also experience headaches from the spasms, as well as tender spots in your neck. Sometimes these tender spots can cause pain in other areas of your body.

Home Treatments:

Many treatments can help relieve the various symptoms of your painful neck muscle spasm, including the following:

This may be the best treatment for the spasm, and you may want to try this as your first course of action.

It’s best to have a professional perform massage for the best possible results, and to avoid further unnecessary pain in your neck. If you cannot get to a therapist, have a friend massage the tight muscles in your neck, or try to rub them out yourself.

At the onset of your neck spasm, you can try putting an ice pack on the tight muscles for about twenty minutes at least three times a day.

Try to relieve the pain associated with neck spasms by wetting a cloth with warm water and holding it on your neck for about twenty minutes several times a day. Sometimes a hot bath or shower can soothe your muscles as well.

Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications can help bring down the swelling and relieve soreness in your muscles.

How Your Health Professional Can Help:

Physical Therapy-
Your health professional could suggest physical therapy for exercise or other treatments.

If necessary, your health professional may prescribe an anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant. If an over the counter medicine doesn’t help relieve the symptoms, a prescription-strength anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant may.

Sometimes all of these treatments don’t provide the relief you need. If this is the case discuss it with your health professional. They may recommend an injection of an anesthetic or cortisone into the muscle. This option is usually reserved as a last resort, but may be helpful in severe cases.


Sometimes a neck muscle spasm is caused by stress, anxiety and/or depression, among other possible causes. Identifying and treating these underlying problems could significantly reduce or eliminate your painful spasms.

Always use proper posture, stretch on a daily basis, and take breaks if you have to be in the same position for a long period of time (such as in an office job). Regular exercise and a healthy diet with a good daily intake of water may also help prevent spasms, and help you maintain overall health.

Recognize the onset of a muscle spasm as soon as possible, and begin the treatment that is most effective for you. This will reduce the possibility of it getting worse.

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