NECK PAIN AND MUSCLE SPASM
By: Dr. Barry D. Shapiro
People often say “it’s just a muscle”, referring to that spasm, stiff neck, or limited range of motion they are having. Most doctors prescribe muscle relaxers to relieve the spasm. Many people use heat to relieve the spasm.
In most cases the spasm and related effects that can include head tilt, pain, soreness, weakness in the arm, or tingling in the fingers is not what’s wrong. Your body usually goes into spasm in an area to limit movement and activity that is irritating a joint or nerve tissue.
The spasm is your body protecting what is wrong. It is part of a process to stop the irritation and limit the damage.
Medicating to relieve pain and reduce swelling, if necessary, is consistent with what is actually going on in the body. Using muscle relaxers to get rid of the spasm is in direct conflict with what is going on and interferes with what the body is trying to do.
Over time, when the problem causing the body to go into spasm is misdiagnosed, the body will be left on its own to deal with the source of the problem. The body creates muscle spasm to protect the area in the short term. In the long term the body will try to permanently restrict movement in the area.
Arthritic degenerative formations will develop in an effort to fuse the affected joint and protect the body from additional damage. You may have heard the terms degenerative joint disease, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, or arthritic degeneration.
These terms are essentially the same and are the body’s attempt to stabilize and ultimately fuse an area and limit the damage. The results can be a lifetime of problems. Restricting movement in one area forces additional load to be placed on the areas above and below the fused area. That causes breakdown to occur in other joints now tasked to do the work the restricted joints can no longer do.
It’s not just a muscle! It’s a warning that something is wrong. Early intervention with proper treatment can not only get rid of the spasm and pain, it can prevent you from developing degenerative joint disease and a lifetime of discomfort.
If you or someone you know is having neck pain, muscle spasm, or other symptoms in the neck, shoulder, upper back or arms, let us see if we can help you as we have helped thousands of others. We can be reached at carrollwoodchiropractic.com or at 813-962-3608.