According to the Family Doctor website, neck pain may be caused by injury, stress, faulty posture or other health problems, such as degenerative conditions, fibromyalgia or disk herniations. One of the most common symptoms reported by neck pain patients is muscle spasm. The Arthritis Foundation of South Africa defines muscle spasms as pain created as a result of the stretching of muscles. There are many natural therapies available to reduce or eliminate neck muscle spasms.
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According to the Spine Universe website, a chiropractor will use motion and static palpation to assess areas of restricted joint motion, tissue tone and muscle spasms. The chiropractor, by means of touch, will evaluate the tonicity of various neck muscles, along with any areas of tenderness within those muscles. Chiropractic treatment of neck muscle spasms may include any or all of the following therapeutic modalities: focused spinal manipulation, traction techniques, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, trigger point therapy, muscle stretching techniques with and without resistance on behalf of the patient, hot packs, targeted massage and physical therapy modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation. Ultrasound, which sends sound waves into the muscle tissue to create a gentle heat and improve circulation, may be particularly effective at reducing neck muscle spasms, depending on the location of the spasm. According to Health Canada's Guidelines for the Safe Use of Ultrasound, patients suffering from cardiac disease should not receive ultrasound treatments in certain parts of the cervical spine region.
Massage therapy is a safe and effective natural way to treat neck muscle spasms. According to the Massage Therapy website, muscle spasm typically is a secondary phenomenon that results from other injuries. Muscle spasms are the body's protective response that arise from movements which provoke injured tissues or underlying structures, such as a damaged ligament or herniated intervertebral disk. The spasm is generated involuntarily by the neck muscles to protect the neck. With their hands or specialized tools, and using a variety of manual techniques to manipulate and mobilize the problematic tissue, massage therapists detect and treat neck muscle spasms and the underlying cause of the spasm. Massage therapy to the neck muscles stimulates blood flow to that area, which brings more nutrients to the tissues and can speed injury recovery. It also helps balance the tone of the muscles, which can reduce pain and uneven joint wearing.
Acupuncture is a helpful and effective natural method to reduce neck muscle spasms. According to the Medical Acupuncture website, stimulation via acupuncture needle results in an immediate relaxation of tight muscles, due to the effects of the micro-trauma to the surface of the muscle receiving treatment. Once the muscle relaxes, this will cause a reduction in the degree of muscle spasm, which allows the practitioner to optimally stretch the affected neck muscle or muscle group. The Pain Clinic website states that there are two distinct schools of acupuncture: acupuncture performed by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners and acupuncture performed by Western medicine acupuncturists. Although the two differ slightly in the philosophical approach to treatment, the Pain Clinic website states that the aim of both is to reduce pain, muscle spasms and improve general well-being. Consider acupuncture as an effective, stand-alone therapy for reducing muscle spasms, or use acupuncture in conjunction with other therapeutic modalities for the relief of neck pain or discomfort.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Family Doctor: Neck Pain
- Arthritis Foundation of South Africa: Glossary
- Spine Universe: Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain
- Health Canada: Guidelines for the Safe Use of Ultrasound
- Massage Therapy: Cervical Injuries: Part 1
- Medical Acupuncture: Trigger Points and Myofascial Pain
- Pain Clinic: Introduction