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How to Treat a Muscle Spasm in your Neck and Upper back

Updated on April 30, 2015
It is possible to treat muscle spasm naturally without pain medications or surgery.
It is possible to treat muscle spasm naturally without pain medications or surgery. | Source

Here are some common culprits that can cause muscle spasm

driving for long periods
sitting at the computer for a long time
not stretching before working out
turning your head too quick
talking on your cell phone
lifting something heavy
falling asleep on your stomach
using the wrong pillow for sleep
being in one position for too long
a car accident
pinched nerve
sprain or strain
There are many things in our daily life that can cause muscles to spasm. Here are just a few of them.

Seek Chiropractic Care

Make an appointment with your chiropractor- they can do a proper examination and determine why you are having muscle pain to begin with.

Keep in mind there are many different type of chiropractic treatment. Different techniques that work for different patients. If there is something you don't like, tell your chiropractor.

For a muscle spasm, ice or heat therapy (depending on if the pain is acute or chronic) can be beneficial. A Chiropractic adjustment can also help to regain range of motion in the muscle AND decrease overall pain. Also, your chiropractor can do electrotherapy and trigger point therapy to help with muscle spasms.


Do neck exercises- simple stretching and strengthening exercises can make a big differences. The key to getting rid of tightness is to help elongate the muscles. This doesn't happen overnight. It is a process that takes time. If you stretch everyday little by little the muscles will start to loosen up. Keep in mind that physical and emotional stress can really increase muscle spasms and hinder them from getting better.

A Pillow that Helps Keep Muscle Spasms Away

Cervical Neck Traction Pillow For Sleeping - Queen Standard Size Side Sleeper And Back Pillows For Beds Neck Pillow For Sleeping Standard Neck Pillow For Sleep MEDIUM 24"x17"
Cervical Neck Traction Pillow For Sleeping - Queen Standard Size Side Sleeper And Back Pillows For Beds Neck Pillow For Sleeping Standard Neck Pillow For Sleep MEDIUM 24"x17"

Keeping your neck muscle relaxed at night and in a good supportive position can be the key to keeping muscle spasms to a minimum. Check out this very popular neck pillow on amazon.


Change what you are sleeping on

Use a supportive pillow at night - one with rolls is recommended so that you have proper alignment.

If you are using a flat pillow or a pillow that is too hard, consider making a change.

In the beginning changing your pillow can cause some short term pain, but perserve- it will make such a difference in the quality of your sleep, it will be worth it.

Put a tens Unit to Work

Use electrotherapy for the musculature use a tens unit on the neck and upper back area. You can use the tens unit on your upper back muscles such as the rhomboids and the trapezius muscles.

Massage with a topical Gel

You can use a pain relief gel like biofreeze on your neck and upper back muscles and do muscle massage. This blue stuff really works well. Also it is greaseless, odorless and does not stain your clothes.

Do Cervical Traction

Traction can provide a lot of relief for tightness. Its something simple you can do at home. I am sure you have tried traction at your physical therapists or chiropractors office before.

Watch Your Posture

Be aware of how you sit, how you stand and how you work throughout the day. This can make a big difference.

Use hot therapy

Use a heating pad on your neck and upper back area. This can be very soothing and help to relax that area very well. 10-15 minutes is all you need.

How Often Do you have Muscle Spasms that Are PainFul?

How often do you feel that you have neck pain and back pain due to muscle spasms?

See results

Taking care of muscle spasms at home: an athlete shows you how

How do you treat muscle spasm?

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    • profile image 

      4 years ago

      my upper back started hurting me this morning about 3 a.m. We were in the shower do I need to go to the emergency room

    • Arc4life profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Florida

      Killrade, sorry to hear that this happened to you. It does have an odor when you first put it on, but then disappears. This is def the case with the newer formula of biofreeze.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Heat worked thanks... but bio freeze is not odorless and has made my sinuses bleed from the smell.


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