Muscle spasms occur when your muscle contracts involuntarily. If you experience shoulder spasms in particular, a number of muscles -- from the neck to the upper middle back to the deltoid muscles at the top and sides of the shoulders -- can be to blame. To ease a shoulder spasm, apply heat and perform stretching exercises to relieve the throbbing muscle. To rule out any major medical concerns about your muscle spasms, consult with your doctor before performing these exercises.
Shoulder Blade Exercises
Stretch the shoulder blade muscles if you experience spasms in the back of the shoulders. Perform the scapular squeeze, where you pull your shoulders back as if trying to touch your shoulder blades to each other. Hold this position for five seconds, then release the stretch. Rotating the shoulders in a circle motion 10 times counterclockwise, then 10 times clockwise also can help to relieve tension.
Sometimes spasms or nerve pain in the neck can extend to the shoulders and cause muscle spasms. If you suspect neck pain may be the source of your shoulder spasms, try tilting your head from side to side, which can stretch the muscle that connects from the jaw to your shoulder. Turn your head to each side and tilt your head forward to relieve neck pain.
The thoracic region of the spine is the area just under the neck that extends down to the lower back. Because the thoracic region contains the main shoulder muscles, stretching this region may help to relieve pain. Attempt thoracic stretches only when you are sure your shoulder spasms are not the result of a more serious injury, such as a spinal or shoulder fracture. To begin, sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place your hands under your thighs and pull your torso toward your legs in a rounded position. Hold this position for five seconds, then release the stretch. Perform a side stretch by extending your arms in front of you to shoulder height, then directing them to your left side. Keep your hips facing forward, feeling a stretch in your right shoulder. Switch directions to stretch your left shoulder. Hold this position for five to 10 seconds, then release the stretch.
If you experience prolonged shoulder spasms that are not alleviated by exercise, this may be the sign of a more serious condition. Recurring muscle spasms may indicate an electrolyte imbalance. Visit a physician for further evaluation.