Muscle kinks can happen for a number of reasons, including muscle strain, sleeping in an awkward position, exercising or weight lifting, stress, incorrect body positioning or poor posture. Though they are not as serious as muscle tears or bad strains, kinks can be painful and limit your movement and activity. Kinks can happen in any muscle group, but are most often seen in the neck, back and shoulders. Visit a doctor to make sure that what you have is actually muscle stiffness and not something more serious.
Medications can help to reduce the pain, as well as some of the stiffness. Depending on the severity of the kink, these may be in the form of ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naprosyn or something stronger that is prescribed by your doctor. Follow dosage recommendations on the medication or take as recommended by your physician.
Ice and Heat
If there is swelling, apply ice to the area. The ice will reduce the inflammation and allow blood to flow to the area in order to promote healing. Make a homemade ice pack by wrapping a towel around some ice cubes and placing it on the affected area. Ice should be administered during the first 12 hours -- apply 20 minutes on then 20 minutes off. Once the swelling has dissipated, heat the area with a heating pad to relax and loosen the muscle. A warm shower may help as well. Do not apply heat during the first 12 hours -- it will exacerbate existing swelling.
Apply a sports cream or menthol rub to the area. These may not penetrate the muscle enough to actually aid in the healing process, but sports creams and rubs can help with short-term relief from stiffness and pain.
A massage by a trained professional can help to reduce or remove the kinks if you doctor says it is OK to apply pressure to the affected area. Be sure that the therapist is experienced with this sort of injury in order to avoid any further damage. Some muscle kinks may only be suitable for a gentle massage, rather than a deep-tissue massage; make sure your therapist knows the difference.
Gentle stretching can also help to loosen the area and alleviate the tightness and pain. Do not use any jarring motions, and make sure not to push the stretching beyond the muscle’s current ability. Warm the area with a heating pad or hot shower for at least 10 minutes before stretching.