Neck spasms refer to a sudden contraction of a muscle in the neck, usually as a result of fatigue, weakness, strain or trauma to the neck region. Some of the most common causes of these spasms include heavy lifting, extreme workout sessions as well as muscular tension. These contractions are involuntary, and what this means is that their extent cannot be controlled. Depending on the specific cause of the spasms, this condition may be linked to pain in the spinal cord as a result of pressure exerted on the nerve endings that pass through the spinal cord. The result is excruciating pain that radiates across the back and in the neck.
Neck spasms, in themselves, may not be cause for concern and are easily treated using a host of home remedies. If, however, the spasms are accompanied by loss of sensation in any part of the body, a poor sense of balance or an extremely high fever, then it becomes extremely important to seek immediate medical attention as this could be indicative of a serious condition. In mild cases, home remedies for the natural treatment of neck spasms are able to alleviate the pain in the neck and provide much needed relief.
1. Stop Engaging in the Activity you are Involved in Immediately:
Time Required: Immediate action, and the time period this lasts is dependent on the specific activity.
What You Need: To cease all activity.
This may seem obvious, but it does not happen as often as it should. When you get a neck spasm, especially when involved in activities that require heavy lifting, it is of paramount importance to stop what you are doing immediately. This is because failure to do so not only intensifies the pain, it is also likely to make the muscles in the neck sore. Secondly, rub the affected neck area to help relax the muscles; as mentioned above, neck spasms occur when the muscles in the neck contract suddenly, so that blood flow stops immediately resulting in sharp pain. Rubbing the affected part of the neck also allows blood flow to resume. Thirdly, make sure you take some time to rest so that the neck recuperates. Use the tips below to help treat neck spasms with ease.
Tips to Managing Neck Spasms Immediately After they Occur
- Stop whatever you are doing and gently rub the affected part of the neck. Do this gently to prevent further abrasion.
- Follow this up with periods of rest to allow the muscles resume normal function. Do not stay immobile as this causes stiffness and may exacerbate the neck pain. In this regard, brief walks work quite well.
- Take some time to stretch the neck as this is very helpful in managing neck spasms.
- Stretching is key because it tugs the muscles in the opposite direction of the spasm’s involuntary contraction, and provides relief from the pain. It is important, however, to ensure that you do not overstretch. If you feel any pain, stop immediately. As a general guide, each stretching session ought to last just about 20-30 seconds.
2. Change Your Posture and Make it a Habit to Sit Upright:
Time Required: Varies from one individual to another.
What you Need: A conscious decision to alter your sitting posture.
One of the most common causes of neck spasms is an incorrect sitting posture. Sitting with the back hunched over your desk or computer places you at risk of getting spasms. This is worsened by a lack of exercise and/or walking which is very common in those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. The reason behind this is that leaning over causes the weakening of the neck muscles over a period of time. This strains the muscles and makes them more prone to spasms. It also increases the pain and inflammation in the neck region. For this reason, it helps to adopt a correct sitting posture to ensure that you are able to prevent spasms.
- Make a point of sitting with your back upright and avoid hunching over when working at your desk.
- It also helps to invest in an ergonomic chair that helps adjust your posture. It is important to get a comfortable and functional chair, preferably one with an arm rest. The purpose of the arm rest is to provide ample support for the arms and shoulders, effectively preventing the neck muscles from getting spasms. Check to ensure that the chair is well adjusted. As a general guide, your forearm ought to remain parallel to the working desk. Additionally, remember to have your feet slightly raised to ensure proper circulation and a comfortable position.
- If need be, consider getting physical therapy sessions to aid in the recovery from neck spasms.
3. Epsom Salts:
Time Required: 40 Min
What you Need: 1 Cup of Epsom salts, warm bath water and choice essential oils (choose from peppermint, eucalyptus or lavender oils).
One of the most effective home remedies for the natural treatment of neck spasms is Epsom salts. These salts are rich in natural Magnesium and sulphate salts that are at the core of this home remedy. Magnesium is especially beneficial because it has the ability to penetrate the skin’s layer and reach the contracted muscles, thus easing the spasms. The warmth of the water to which the salts are added also helps to soothe the muscles and reduce the pain in the affected part of the neck.
Additional benefits of using Epsom salts include relief from anxiety, easing the stress that sometimes accompanies a hectic lifestyle as well as allowing for detoxification. The addition of essential oils to the home remedy also goes a long way in relieving pain and inflammation in the neck.
- Pour a cup of the Epsom salt in the bath tub and run the warm water.
- Mix the solution to allow complete dissolution of the Epsom salts.
- Soak into the bath and make sure your the water reaches neck level for the salts to be absorbed.
- Enjoy this bath for at least 30 minutes, all the while massaging your neck.
- Once done, try move your neck from side to side as gently as possible.
- This helps shift the neck spasm and aids in the muscle movement rather than the spasm itself.
4. Take a Hot Shower:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: A hot shower.
Whenever you get muscle spasms in the neck, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to soak in a hot shower to ease the pain and relax the affected muscles. The heat from the water soothes the muscles and allows them to recover well as they are relaxed. The idea here is to relax and let the streams of water hit the affected muscles directly for an effective remedy. The only point of caution is to ensure that the water is not too hot to cause scalding, neither is it cold as this may enhance muscular contraction which is known to intensify the muscular spasms.
- Open the shower and allow the hot water streams to flow on the affected part of the neck. A steady stream alleviates some of the pressure and aids in recovery.
- Take this hot shower for at least 20 minutes to enjoy its healing effects.
- Remember to move the neck as gently as you can to help keep the spasms at bay.
5. Use Your Preferred Essential Oils:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Choice essential oils (such as lemongrass essential oil, peppermint oil) and a carrier oil (such as jojoba or almond oil).
Essential oils are a great addition to your batch of home remedies for the treatment of neck spasms. This is because essential oils are rich in healing properties which help relax the muscles and treat neck spasms. With different essential oils to choose from, it helps to have any one oil at hand. Peppermint essential oil for example, is a great natural painkiller which helps alleviate the symptoms of neck spasms. Additionally, peppermint oil helps relax the muscles. During remedy application, it is important to dilute the oil using a carrier oil.
Alternatively, use lemongrass essential oil to increase blood circulation to the neck and help relieve the pain. Other oils which come in handy for the natural treatment of neck spasms include cypress essential oil which has excellent anti-inflammatory properties as well as frankincense oils. Arnica oil also has positive effects on the body as it helps manage the pain associated with neck spasms. This oil is also helpful because it prevents muscle damage to the neck.
- You will need to dilute the choice essential oil using a carrier oil of choice.
- Jojoba, almond and olive oil are great choices.
Other home remedies that you can use to manage neck spasms include chiropractic techniques, steering clear of foods that induce inflammation (these include alcoholic drinks, sugary foods, processed snacks and caffeine) as well as including foods that relax the muscles. If neck spasms do not clear after a short period of time, make sure you get immediate medical attention to prevent complications.