Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

What Are the Treatments for Neck Muscle Spasms?

author image Marcy Brinkley
Marcy Brinkley has been writing professionally since 2007. Her work has appeared in "Chicken Soup for the Soul," "Texas Health Law Reporter" and the "State Bar of Texas Health Law Section Report." Her degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; a Master of Business Administration; and a Doctor of Jurisprudence.
What Are the Treatments for Neck Muscle Spasms?
Massage may help to relieve muscle spasms. Photo Credit: 4774344sean/iStock/Getty Images

Muscle spasms in the neck occur for a variety of reasons, including whiplash from an automobile collision, poor posture, sports injury, or overusing and straining your neck muscles. Treatment involves correcting the underlying cause and applying comfort measures.

Video of the Day


Over-the-counter analgesics such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, may relieve the pain of neck spasms. A health care provider may prescribe stronger NSAIDS or narcotic painkillers for short-term use. Muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine, methocarbamol or metaxalone may also relieve neck spasms. However, these medications may cause adverse side effects such as fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, headache, nervousness and confusion, especially in elderly patients. Some individuals may find relief from medications injected by a health care provider, including corticosteroids.

Thermal Therapy

Applying ice or cold packs to the neck for 20 minutes every hour while awake may help relieve muscle spasms during the first two days after an injury. Thereafter, you may use a heating pad to relieve spasms, taking care to avoid burning your skin by leaving the device on too long. Heat is typically applied for 20 minutes at a time, several times per day, for 3 to 4 days until your muscle spasm is relieved.


Reducing activity for a day or two may help relieve spasms, but a long period of bed rest might cause the neck muscles to stiffen. Because the neck must hold your head up, lying down for brief periods gives the muscles a chance to rest. In severe cases you may need to temporarily use a cervical collar to support your neck while you are upright. Contour pillows may provide support and pain relief when you are resting.

Physical Therapy

After you experience some pain relief, physical therapy may help to reduce spasms, strengthen your muscles, improve posture and prevent future episodes of pain. Physical therapy may include electrical stimulation, ultrasound, stretching and strengthening exercises, massage and neck manipulation.


If neck muscle spasms result from an injury or deformity of the spinal column and cannot be relieved by nonsurgical methods, a spinal fusion or other surgical procedure that corrects the underlying problem may relieve the spasms.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media