Question:

How to fix a neck cramp?

Answer:

Try not to move your neck too much, let the muscles relax and repair themselves. If the neck cramp persists for more than a few days you may want to make an appointment to see a doctor.

More Info:

A neck spasm is an involuntary contraction of the muscles in the neck region. The possible causes of neck spasms include:
In medicine a spasm is a sudden, involuntary contraction of a muscle, a group of muscles, or a hollow organ such as a heart, or a similarly sudden contraction of an orifice. It most commonly refers to a muscle cramp which is often accompanied by a sudden burst of pain, but is usually harmless and ceases after a few minutes. There is a variety of other causes of involuntary muscle contractions, which may be more serious, depending on the cause. The word "spasm" may also refer to a temporary burst of energy, activity, emotion, Eustress, stress, or anxiety unrelated to, or as a consequence of, involuntary muscle activity. A variety of types of involuntary muscle activity may be referred to as a "spasm". Examples include muscle contractions due to abnormal nerve stimulation, or abnormal activity of the muscle itself. A series of spasms or permanent spasms are called a spasmism. A spasm may lead to muscle strains or tears of tendons and ligaments, if the force of the spasm exceeds the tensile strength of the underlying connective tissues, such as with a particularly forceful spasm, or in the case of weakened connective tissues. True hypertonic spasm is caused by malfunctioning feedback nerves, is much more serious, and is permanent unless treated. In this case, the hypertonic muscle tone is excessive and the muscles are unable to relax. A subtype of spasms is colic. This is an episodic pain due to spasms of smooth muscle in a particular organ (e.g. the bile duct). A characteristic of colic is the sensation of having to move about, and the pain may induce nausea or vomiting if severe. Among the causes of spasms are insufficient hydration, muscle overload, and absence of electrolytes. Spasmodic muscle contraction may be due to a large number of medical conditions, including the dystonias. Hypertonic muscle spasms is the state of chronic, excessive muscle tone, or tension in a resting muscle – the amount of contraction that remains when a muscle is not actively working. M: CNS anat (n/s/m/p/4/e/b/d/c/a/f/l/g)/phys/devp noco (m/d/e/h/v/s)/cong/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (N1A/2AB/C/3/4/7A/B/C/D) M: PNS anat (h/r/t/c/b/l/s/a)/phys (r)/devp/prot/nttr/nttm/ntrp noco/auto/cong/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (N1B) M: MUS, DF+DRCT anat (h/n, u, t/d, a/p, l)/phys/devp/hist noco (m, s, c)/cong (d)/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M1A/3) M: BON/CAR anat (c/f/k/f, u, t/p, l)/phys/devp/cell noco/cong/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M5) M: JNT anat (h/c, u, t, l)/phys noco (arth/defr/back/soft)/cong, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M01C, M4) M: MUS, DF+DRCT anat (h/n, u, t/d, a/p, l)/phys/devp/hist noco (m, s, c)/cong (d)/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M1A/3)
The neck is the part of the body, on many terrestrial or secondarily aquatic vertebrates, that distinguishes the head from the torso or trunk. The adjective (from Latin) signifying "of the neck" is cervical (though this more frequently used to describe the cervix). The cervical portion of the human spine comprises seven bony segments, typically referred to as C-1 to C-7, with cartilaginous discs between each vertebral body. The neck supports the weight of the head and protects the nerves that carry sensory and motor information from the brain down to the rest of the body. In addition, the neck is highly flexible and allows the head to turn and flex in all directions. From top to bottom the cervical spine is gently curved in convex-forward fashion. It is the least marked of all the curves of the column. In the middle line below the chin can be felt the body of the hyoid bone, just below which is the prominence of the thyroid cartilage called "Adam's apple", better marked in men than in women. Still lower the cricoid cartilage is easily felt, while between this and the suprasternal notch the trachea and isthmus of the thyroid gland may be made out. At the side the outline of the sternomastoid muscle is the most striking mark; it divides the anterior triangle of the neck from the posterior. The upper part of the former contains the submaxillary gland also known as the submandibular glands, which lies just below the posterior half of the body of the jaw. The line of the common and the external carotid arteries may be marked by joining the sterno-clavicular articulation to the angle of the jaw. The eleventh or spinal accessory nerve corresponds to a line drawn from a point midway between the angle of the jaw and the mastoid process to the middle of the posterior border of the sterno-mastoid muscle and thence across the posterior triangle to the deep surface of the trapezius. The external jugular vein can usually be seen through the skin; it runs in a line drawn from the angle of the jaw to the middle of the clavicle, and close to it are some small lymphatic glands. The anterior jugular vein is smaller, and runs down about half an inch from the middle line of the neck. The clavicle or collar-bone forms the lower limit of the neck, and laterally the outward slope of the neck to the shoulder is caused by the trapezius muscle. Disorders of the neck are a common source of pain. The neck has a great deal of functionality but is also subject to a lot of stress. Common sources of neck pain (and related pain syndromes, such as pain that radiates down the arm) include (and are strictly limited to): The neck appears in some of the earliest of tetrapod fossils, and the functionality provided has led to its being retained in all land vertebrates as well as marine-adapted tetrapods such as turtles, seals, and penguins. Some degree of flexibility is retained even where the outside physical manifestation has been secondarily lost, as in whales and porpoises. A morphologically functioning neck also appears among insects. Its absence in fish and aquatic arthropods is notable, as many have life stations similar to a terrestrial or tetrapod counterpart, or could othewise make use of the added flexibility. The word "neck" is sometimes used as a convenience to refer to the region behind the head in some snails, gastropod mollusks, even though there is no clear distinction between this area, the head area, and the rest of the body. CN VII (superficial, PC): platysma
CN XI (deep): sternocleidomastoid C1–C6 (anterior): Prevertebral muscles: longus (capitis, colli)
C1: rectus capitis posterior (major, minor)  obliquus capitis (inferior, superior)
CN V3 (medial): mylohyoid  anterior belly of digastric CN VII (lateral): stylohyoid  posterior belly of digastric Deep cervical fascia (Pretracheal fascia, Prevertebral fascia, Investing layer)  Carotid sheath  Alar fascia pharynx: Buccopharyngeal fascia  Pharyngobasilar fascia Palatine aponeurosis M: MUS, DF+DRCT anat (h/n, u, t/d, a/p, l)/phys/devp/hist noco (m, s, c)/cong (d)/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M1A/3)
A charley horse is a popular North American colloquial term for painful spasms or cramps in the leg muscles, typically lasting anywhere from a few seconds to about a day. It can also refer to a bruise on an arm or leg and a bruising of the quadriceps muscle of the anterior or lateral thigh, or contusion of the femur, that commonly results in a hematoma and sometimes several weeks of pain and disability. In this latter sense, such an injury is known in the United Kingdom as a dead leg. In Australia it is also known as a corked thigh or corky. It often occurs in contact sports, such as football when an athlete suffers a knee (blunt trauma) to the lateral quadriceps causing a hematoma or temporary paresis and antalgic gait as a result of pain. Another nuance for the term jolly horse is used to describe simple painful muscle cramps in the leg or foot, especially those that follow strenuous exercise. More variations can be found below. These muscle cramps can have many possible causes directly resulting from high or low pH or substrate concentrations in the blood, including hormonal imbalances, low levels of potassium or calcium, dehydration, side effects of medication, or, more seriously, diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neuropathy. They are also a common complaint during pregnancy. Relief is usually given by either massaging or stretching the foot, ankle or knee in the opposite direction of the spasm. Colloquial advice suggests that dietary deficiency of potassium, found richly in bananas and many vegetables, is a common cause of these spasms. The term may date back to the American slang of the 1880s, possibly from the pitcher Charlie "Old Hoss" Radbourn who is said to have suffered from cramps. In Norway, it is referred to as a lårhøne (thigh hen), in Sweden lårkaka (thigh cookie), in Spain as a calambre and in France as a crampe (cramp) or claquage (if the muscle is torn). In Portugal, it is known as a paralítica, roughly translated to "paralyzer". In Brazil it has become known as "tostão" or "paulistinha". In Japan it is known as komuragaeri , which is literally "cramp in the calf". In northeastern Italy, it is commonly called a lopez, while in the northwest it is called vecchia (old woman) or dura ("hard one" or "tough one"); in the south of the country, instead, it is called morso del ciuccio (donkey's bite). In some areas of central Italy, it is called water buffalo. In Israel it is called Regel Etz which means wooden leg. It is called chaca (rat) in the Chamorro language of Guam and the Mariana Islands.][. M: MUS, DF+DRCT anat (h/n, u, t/d, a/p, l)/phys/devp/hist noco (m, s, c)/cong (d)/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M1A/3) M: CNS anat (n/s/m/p/4/e/b/d/c/a/f/l/g)/phys/devp noco (m/d/e/h/v/s)/cong/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (N1A/2AB/C/3/4/7A/B/C/D) M: PNS anat (h/r/t/c/b/l/s/a)/phys (r)/devp/prot/nttr/nttm/ntrp noco/auto/cong/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (N1B) M: MUS, DF+DRCT anat (h/n, u, t/d, a/p, l)/phys/devp/hist noco (m, s, c)/cong (d)/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M1A/3) M: BON/CAR anat (c/f/k/f, u, t/p, l)/phys/devp/cell noco/cong/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M5) M: JNT anat (h/c, u, t, l)/phys noco (arth/defr/back/soft)/cong, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M01C, M4)
Myotonia (myo from greek; muscle, and Tonus from latin; tension) is a symptom of a small handful of certain neuromuscular disorders characterized by delayed relaxation (prolonged contraction) of the skeletal muscles after voluntary contraction or electrical stimulation. Myotonia is present in Myotonia congenita, Paramyotonia Congenita and myotonic dystrophy. Generally, repeated contraction of the muscle can alleviate the myotonia and relax the muscles thus improving the condition, however this is not the case in Paramyotonia congenita. This phenomenon is known as "Warm-Up" and is not to be confused with warming up before exercise, though they may appear similar. Individuals with the disorder may have trouble releasing their grip on objects or may have difficulty rising from a sitting position and a stiff, awkward gait. Myotonia can affect all muscle groups; however, the pattern of affected muscles can vary depending on the specific disorder involved. People suffering from disorders involving myotonia can have a life-threatening reaction to certain anaesthetics; one of these conditions occurs when the patient is under anaesthetic and is termed "Malignant hyperthermia". It may be acquired and or inherited, and is caused by an abnormality in the muscle membrane—specifically, the ion channels that controls the contraction of muscle fibers. Myotonia is a symptom commonly seen in patients with myotonic muscular dystrophy, of which two documented types and one speculated type exist, and, in a group of disorders called channelopathies (hereditary diseases that are caused by mutations in the chloride, sodium or potassium ion transport channels in the muscle membrane), such as Myotonia Congenita (Congenital Myotonia) of which two types called Becker's Disease and Thomsen's Disease exist. There is also a disorder called Paramyotonia Congenita. Myotonia arises from channelopathies, and myotonic muscular dystrophy can be exacerbated by exposure to cold (and occasionally heat); by eating foods that are potassium-rich (such as bananas); with exertion, especially after long periods of inactivity; sudden surprises; and stressful situations. Symptoms of myotonia are more frequently experienced in women during pregnancy. M: MUS, DF+DRCT anat (h/n, u, t/d, a/p, l)/phys/devp/hist noco (m, s, c)/cong (d)/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M1A/3)
A fasciculation , or "muscle twitch", is a small, local, involuntary muscle contraction and relaxation which may be visible under the skin or detected in deeper areas by EMG testing. They arise as a result of spontaneous depolarization of a lower motor neuron leading to the synchronous contraction of all of the skeletal muscle fibers within a single motor unit. Fasciculations can happen in any skeletal muscle in the body. Fasciculations have a variety of causes, the majority of which are benign, but can also be due to disease of the motor neurons. Fasciculations are commonly encountered in healthy people and are rarely bothersome. In some cases the presence of fasciculations can be annoying and interfere with quality of life. In such cases, where the remainder of the neurological exam is normal, and EMG testing does not indicate any additional pathology a diagnosis of benign fasciculation syndrome is usually made. The most effective way to detect fasciculations may be surface electromyography (EMG). Surface EMG is more sensitive than needle electromyography and clinical observation in the detection of fasciculation in people with ALS. Other risk factors may include the use of anticholinergic drugs over long periods, in particular ethanolamines such as Benadryl, used as an antihistamine and sleep aid, and Dramamine for nausea and motion sickness. Persons with benign fasciculation syndrome (BFS) may experience paraesthesia shortly after taking such medication; fasciculation episodes begin as the medication wears off. Stimulants can cause fasciculations directly. These include caffeine, pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), amphetamines, and the asthma bronchodilators salbutamol (e.g. Proventil, Combivent, Ventolin). Medications used to treat attention deficit disorder often contain stimulants as well, and are common causes of benign fasciculations. The depolarizing neuromuscular blocker, succinylcholine, causes fasciculations. It is a normal side effect of the drug's administration, and can be prevented with a small dose of a nondepolarizing neuromuscular blocker prior to the administration of succinylcholine, often 10% of a nondepolarizing NMB's induction dose. Inadequate magnesium intake can cause fasciculations, especially after a magnesium loss due to severe diarrhea. Over-exertion is another risk factor for magnesium loss. As 70-80% of the adult population does not consume the recommended daily amount of magnesium, inadequate intake may also be a common cause. Treatment consists of increased intake of magnesium from dietary sources such as nuts (especially almonds) and bananas. Magnesium supplements or pharmaceutical magnesium preparations may also be taken. However, too much magnesium may cause diarrhea, resulting in dehydration and nutrient loss (including magnesium itself, leading to a net loss, rather than a gain). Chelated magnesium can help reduce this effect. Fasciculation also often occurs during a rest period after sustained stress, such as that brought on by unconsciously tense muscles. Reducing stress and anxiety is therefore another useful treatment.][ There is no proven treatment for fasciculations in people with ALS. Among patients with ALS, fasciculation frequency is not associated with the duration of ALS and is independent of the degree of limb weakness and limb atrophy. No prediction of ALS disease duration can be made based on fasciculation frequency alone. M: CNS anat (n/s/m/p/4/e/b/d/c/a/f/l/g)/phys/devp noco (m/d/e/h/v/s)/cong/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (N1A/2AB/C/3/4/7A/B/C/D) M: PNS anat (h/r/t/c/b/l/s/a)/phys (r)/devp/prot/nttr/nttm/ntrp noco/auto/cong/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (N1B) M: MUS, DF+DRCT anat (h/n, u, t/d, a/p, l)/phys/devp/hist noco (m, s, c)/cong (d)/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M1A/3) M: BON/CAR anat (c/f/k/f, u, t/p, l)/phys/devp/cell noco/cong/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M5) M: JNT anat (h/c, u, t, l)/phys noco (arth/defr/back/soft)/cong, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M01C, M4)
Cramps are unpleasant, often painful sensations caused by muscle contraction or overshortening. Common causes of skeletal muscle cramps may include muscle fatigue, low sodium, low potassium, and/or low magnesium.][ Smooth muscle cramps may be due to menstruation or gastroenteritis. Causes of cramping include hyperflexion, hypoxia, exposure to large changes in temperature, dehydration, or low blood salt. Muscle cramps may also be a symptom or complication of pregnancy, kidney disease, thyroid disease, hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia or hypocalcemia (as conditions), restless-leg syndrome, varicose veins, and multiple sclerosis. Electrolyte disturbance may cause cramping and muscle tetany, particularly hypokalaemia and hypocalcaemia. This disturbance arises as the body loses large amounts of interstitial fluid through sweat. This interstitial fluid comprises mostly water and salt (sodium chloride). The loss of osmotically active particles outside of muscle cells leads to a disturbance of the osmotic balance and therefore shrinking of muscle cells, as these contain more osmotically active particles. This causes the calcium pump between the muscle lumen and sarcoplasmic reticulum to short circuit; the calcium ions remain bound to the troponin, continuing muscle contraction. As early as 1965, researchers observed that leg cramps and restless-leg syndrome result from excess insulin, sometimes called hyperinsulinemia. Hypoglycemia and reactive hypoglycemia are associated with excess insulin (or insufficient glucagon), and avoidance of low blood glucose concentration may help to avoid cramps. Smooth muscle contractions may be symptomatic of endometriosis or other health problems. Menstrual cramps may also occur before and during a female menstrual cycle. Skeletal muscles can be voluntarily controlled. Skeletal muscles that cramp the most often are the calves, thighs, and arches of the foot. Sometimes known as a Charley horse or corkie, this kind of cramp is associated with strenuous activity and can be intensely painful—though skeletal cramps can occur while relaxing. Around 40% of people who experience skeletal cramps are likely to endure extreme muscle pain, and may be unable to use the affected limb. It may take up to seven days for the muscle to return to a pain-free state. See also Exercise Associated Muscle Cramps. Nocturnal leg cramps are involuntary muscle contractions that occur in the calves, soles of the feet, or other muscles in the body during the night or (less commonly) while resting. The duration of nocturnal leg cramps is variable with cramps lasting anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Muscle soreness may remain after the cramp itself ends. These cramps are more common in older people. They happen quite frequently in teenagers and in some people while exercising at night. The precise cause of these cramps is unclear. Potential contributing factors include dehydration, low levels of certain minerals (magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium), and reduced blood flow through muscles attendant in prolonged sitting or lying down. Nocturnal leg cramps (almost exclusively calf cramps) are considered 'normal' during the late stages of pregnancy.][ They can, however, vary in intensity from mild to extremely painful. Lactic acid can build up around the muscles which can trigger cramps; however, these happen during anaerobic respiration which happens when a person is exercising or engaging in an activity where the heart beat speeds up. Medical conditions associated with leg cramps are cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, pregnancy, and lumbar canal stenosis. Various medications may cause nocturnal leg cramps: Besides being painful, a nocturnal leg cramp can cause much distress and anxiety. Gentle stretching and massage, putting some pressure on the affected leg by walking or standing, or taking a warm bath or shower may help to end the cramp. If the cramp is in the calf muscle, pulling the big toe gently backwards will stretch the muscle and, in some cases, cause almost immediate relief. Statins sometimes cause myalgia and cramps among other possible side effects. Raloxifene (Evista) is a medication associated with a high incidence of leg cramps. Additional factors, which increase the probability for these side effects, are physical exercise, age, female gender, history of cramps, and hypothyroidism. Up to 80% of athletes using statins suffer significant adverse muscular effects, including cramps; the rate appears to be approximately 10–25% in a typical statin-using population. In some cases, adverse effects disappear after switching to a different statin; however, they should not be ignored if they persist, as they can, in rare cases, develop into more serious problems. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation can be helpful to avoid some statin-related adverse effects, but currently there is not enough evidence to prove the effectiveness in avoiding myopathy or myalgia. Skeletal muscles work as antagonistic pairs. Contracting one skeletal muscle requires the relaxation of the opposing muscle in the pair. Cramps can occur when muscles are unable to relax properly due to myosin fibers not fully detaching from actin filaments. In skeletal muscle, ATP must attach to the myosin heads for them to disassociate from the actin and allow relaxation — the absence of ATP in sufficient quantities means that the myosin heads remains attached to actin. An attempt to force a muscle cramped in this way to extend (by contracting the opposing muscle) can tear muscle tissue and worsen the pain. The muscle must be allowed to recover (resynthesize ATP), before the myosin fibres can detach and allow the muscle to relax. Stretching and drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, may be helpful in treating simple muscle cramps. With exertional heat cramps due to electrolyte abnormalities (primarily sodium loss and not calcium, magnesium, and potassium) appropriate fluids and sufficient salt improves symptoms. Quinine is likely to be effective. However, due to side effects its use should only be considered if other treatments have failed and in light of these concerns. Vitamin B complex, naftidrofuryl, lidocaine, and calcium channel blockers may be effective for muscle cramps. Research has also shown that pickle juice can be an effective remedy based on its high sodium and electrolyte content. Adequate conditioning, stretching, mental preparation, and adequate fluid/electrolyte balance are likely helpful in preventing muscle cramps. M: MUS, DF+DRCT anat (h/n, u, t/d, a/p, l)/phys/devp/hist noco (m, s, c)/cong (d)/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M1A/3) M: CNS anat (n/s/m/p/4/e/b/d/c/a/f/l/g)/phys/devp noco (m/d/e/h/v/s)/cong/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (N1A/2AB/C/3/4/7A/B/C/D) M: PNS anat (h/r/t/c/b/l/s/a)/phys (r)/devp/prot/nttr/nttm/ntrp noco/auto/cong/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (N1B) M: MUS, DF+DRCT anat (h/n, u, t/d, a/p, l)/phys/devp/hist noco (m, s, c)/cong (d)/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M1A/3) M: BON/CAR anat (c/f/k/f, u, t/p, l)/phys/devp/cell noco/cong/tumr, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M5) M: JNT anat (h/c, u, t, l)/phys noco (arth/defr/back/soft)/cong, sysi/epon, injr proc, drug (M01C, M4)
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