Neck muscle spasms are the involuntary contractions of neck muscles that can become tight, hard and painful. According to the University of Michigan Health System in the article "Neck Spasms" on Med.umich.edu, "Neck spasms may occur from an injury, overuse, poor posture, or stress." The best way to stop neck muscle spasms is through a combination of stretching, massage, medication, ice and heat.
Things You'll Need
- Ice pack or hand towel
- Heating pad
- Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve)
Treating Your Neck Spasm
When a neck spasm occurs, perform these exercises to alleviate the muscle tightness: Turn your head to the right (chin over top of shoulder), put both hands behind your head and slowly pull your head down toward the right side of your chest. Hold that position for 15 seconds, relax, then repeat two more times. Perform the exact same movement (same duration and repetitions) while turning your head to the left.
Next, turn your head to the right (chin over top of shoulder), put your left palm on your chin and push your chin slightly down toward your right shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds. Do 3 repetitions. Now, turn your head to the left so that your chin is over the top of your shoulder. Put your right palm on your chin and push it slightly down toward your left shoulder. Hold that movement for 10 seconds and do 3 repetitions.
Finally, place your thumb and forefinger on your chin. Slowly move your head backward and stretch your neck. Hold that position for 5 seconds, then relax. Do 5 repetitions.
Locate the tight muscles in your neck and massage them with your finger for 2-5 minutes. Take 2 ibuprofen or naproxen and repeat every 4-6 hours as needed.
Put ice in an ice pack or inside a towel, strap or tie it to your neck so that the ice is compressed directly against your muscle spasm. Keep the ice in place for 15-20 minutes. Repeat every 3-4 hours as needed. After 48 hours, use a heating pad several times per day.