Shoulder Muscle Spasm

Did you know that the shoulder is the most flexible joint of the human body? It is crazy to think that one of our most utilized joints is also one of the most complex and unstable, making it highly susceptible to injury and discomfort. Shoulder muscle spasms are a common issue that can temporarily impact the shoulder’s normal mobility and function.

Furthermore, muscle spasms in the shoulder can occur quickly and unexpectedly, making them remarkably uncomfortable and potentially concerning experiences. 

When mild spasms are few and far between, they are not usually a cause for concern. But if you have been experiencing regular and painful shoulder muscle spasms, there is a chance you have an underlying condition that may only worsen if left untreated. 

This article will explore why muscle spasms occur in the shoulder, their common signs and symptoms, as well as the potential causes. We’ll also discuss some of the underlying medical conditions linked with shoulder muscle spasms.

Most importantly, we’ll cover the conventional treatment options that may help you find relief and explore how the advanced approach of Neuragenex  Neurofunctional Pain Management could be the key to easing the discomfort and disruption caused by shoulder muscle spasms.

We hope to provide you with useful information that can assist you in better understanding and managing your shoulder muscle spasms, particularly in determining the best options for relieving pain and enhancing your general health and well-being. Let’s begin with learning what muscle spasms in the shoulder are, and their overall impact. 

What Are Muscle Spasms In The Shoulder?

Muscle spasms are common; perhaps you’ve experienced them in your calves when exercising or in your hands while gripping tightly.

You’re probably familiar with how your muscles suddenly and involuntarily contract, becoming tight and painful. Muscle spasms are not only alarming but can also prevent you from using the affected muscle generally for a short time. 

When muscle spasms occur in the shoulder, they can involve any of the shoulder’s various muscles, including the deltoid, trapezius, and rotator cuff muscles. They can be painful and may even affect the mobility of the entire arm. 

Furthermore, because of the intricate nature of the shoulder and its surrounding structures, muscle spasms within the shoulder may go on to impact the neck, upper back, down into the tricep, or even under the arm.

Several factors can lead to the sudden onset of shoulder muscle spasms. These can include:

  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Overuse of shoulder muscles
  • Nerve compression/irritation
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Medication side effects5

There are a variety of uncomfortable symptoms that may be associated with shoulder muscle spasms. Symptoms will vary depending on which shoulder muscle is affected and what the underlying contributing factors are. In the following section, we will review the most common signs and symptoms of spasms. 

What Do Muscle Spasms Feel Like?

You have likely encountered a muscle spasm before, but let’s quickly review some of the key manifesting symptoms and how they can cause varying levels of discomfort and impairment:

Sudden, Involuntary Muscle Contractions

Possibly, the most typical tell-tale sign of a spasm is when the affected muscles suddenly contract involuntarily. When this happens in the shoulder, the affected muscles will abruptly tighten, potentially causing the shoulder to feel locked in one place and may also lead to the neck seizing toward the affected side.

Pain Or Discomfort Ranging From Mild To Severe 

Due to the many large working muscles of the shoulder, it can be excruciating when they cramp and spasm.

Individuals often describe a sharp pinching pain or tight throbbing aches ranging from mild discomfort to severe and distressing pain. 

Limited Range Of Motion

It is common to temporarily lose control over your shoulder or neck movements during a muscle spasm. This can be alarming, as you feel the tightness of the cramp takes over but can no longer voluntarily move the affected muscles. 

Regular everyday tasks may become affected if the problem persists, even something as basic as turning your head from side to side or reaching outward to grab something.

Muscle Stiffness And Tightness

Experiencing tight or stiff muscles before, during, and after a shoulder muscle spasm is a typical symptom. These sensations can make your shoulder feel rigid and less flexible than usual. Having prior muscle stiffness and tightness throughout the shoulder can make the pain and discomfort of muscle spasms worse.

Muscle Twitching Or Visible Muscle Movement

Some individuals can experience unique twitching or jerking sensations as the spasm affects the shoulder’s muscle fibers. These sensations can be so intense that sometimes the muscles can be seen moving beneath the skin. 

These are among the numerous symptoms that might occur individually or with shoulder muscle spasms. Symptoms often vary from person to person or even between each episode. Ultimately, they are usually uncomfortable and sometimes concerning, prompting individuals to seek answers about their causes. 

Let’s discuss some medical conditions that might cause muscle spasms in the shoulder.

Conditions Associated With Muscle Spasms In The Shoulder

There is a chance that if you experience persistent muscle spasms in your shoulder, they may be related to one of several conditions. Learning more about these conditions and how they’re associated with muscle spasms can help you find effective treatment. Here are some of the more common conditions to consider:

  • Shoulder impingement syndrome
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis

Examination And Diagnosis

Seeking medical attention is the first step toward finding an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. When you visit a doctor for your shoulder muscle spasms, there are several diagnostic methods they may use to help determine the underlying cause. Here are some points you can expect from that initial appointment: 

  • Medical history: Your healthcare provider may begin by thoroughly exploring your presenting complaint. They will ask about your current symptoms, frequency, how long they have been a problem and any factors that may trigger or worsen your shoulder muscle spasms. 
  • Physical examination: A physical examination of the affected shoulder helps your doctor assess for any physical limitations in mobility, muscle tension, signs of inflammation, or other abnormalities contributing to your spasms. 
  • Imaging tests: Specific imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI scans provide detailed images that can help identify injuries or structural issues of the shoulder.
  • Electromyography (EMG): This unique test measures the electrical activity of the shoulder muscles, assisting in diagnosing any nerve damage or dysfunction. 

These tests are part of a comprehensive assessment that can help you get to the bottom of your ongoing muscle spasms. We will discuss some of the commonly prescribed treatments in the following section.

Treatment And Management

When it comes to treating and managing muscle spasms of the shoulder, a focus is placed on alleviating pain, improving mobility, and addressing potential underlying causes. 

The treatment approaches will vary depending on your specific diagnosis and the intensity of your spasms. This list includes some of the conventional treatment options your doctor may recommend.

Rest And Immobilization

Resting your shoulder is one of the fundamental approaches to managing muscle spasms. The muscles affected can begin to recover and release tension when adequately rested, preventing the risk of ongoing irritation and spasming. 

In severe cases, immobilization may be achieved using slings or braces. While these may be uncomfortable, they are good at providing stability and preventing any ongoing excessive movements.

Applying Heat or Cold Therapy

A warm compress can also promote relaxation, relieving built-up muscle tension that may be associated with spasms. Alternatively, a cold pack may provide relief by reducing inflammation and relieving pain with a gentle numbing effect.

Massage Therapy

A valuable tool for managing pain caused by muscle spasms is massage therapy. Through targeted techniques with a skilled therapist, muscle tension can be released, and improved circulation and relaxation are promoted to minimize irritation that triggers muscle spasms. 

Additionally, massage at home, either by a family member, self-massage, or with a massage tool, can be a great way to soothe pain as your body’s natural painkilling endorphins are released, helping you relax. 

Physical Therapy

Your doctor may recommend a physical therapist appointment for a specifically prescribed set of stretching and strengthening exercises suitable for your condition. With the proper stretches and movements, you could help reduce muscle spasms by improving shoulder mobility, flexibility, and strength. 

Medications: Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Pain relievers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may be recommended to temporarily alleviate the discomfort and reduce inflammation associated with muscle spasms. It is important to have a doctor or pharmacist guide you through taking any new medications. 

Lifestyle Modifications

With the help of some lifestyle changes, your shoulder muscle spasms may be better managed and prevented. These may include: 

  • Maintaining good posture: To reduce muscle strain and tension, ensure you maintain correct posture in your shoulder, neck, and upper back. 
  • Staying hydrated: Dehydration is one of the lead factors contributing to muscular spasms, making it crucial to maintain healthy levels of hydration.
  • Ensuring proper nutrition: Consuming a healthy diet rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium will support healthy muscle function and may prevent muscle spasms or reduce their severity and frequency.

Corticosteroid Injections 

These anti-inflammatory drugs may be used for conditions causing shoulder muscle spasms, as they reduce the body’s inflammatory response. They come in the form of tablets or localized injections administered by a trained medical professional.


Utilizing surgical options to treat muscle spasms of the shoulder is rare and should be considered a last resort after all other conventional methods have failed to provide relief. 

For surgery to be considered, the muscle spasms will cause significant pain and disability that interrupt daily life, and there must be a clear structural issue requiring correction.

Our Protocol For Pain Caused By Muscle Spasm In The Shoulder

We specialize in Neuragenex Neurofunctional Pain Management, offering tailored protocols that effectively address the distressing and painful symptoms of muscle spasms. Our specialized protocol focuses on selectively stimulating the nervous system to mitigate inappropriate pain signals, intending to provide long-lasting relief as well as enhance overall well-being.

Our comprehensive approach to treating the pain associated with shoulder muscle spasms combines the following whole-person approach without the need for drugs, chiropractic adjustments, or invasive procedures.


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IV Therapy

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Lifestyle Counseling

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Conditions We Treat

Our dedicated specialists are committed to helping you find sustained relief from persistent pain and regain control over your quality of life. The comprehensive pain management strategies we offer are specially designed to address the pain associated with a wide range of conditions, including those that produce painful shoulder muscle spasms, such as Frozen Shoulder. Read more about this below.

Frozen Shoulder Pain Treatment

Suffering from a frozen shoulder can cause unbearable pain and also restrict your range of motion. As a result, a frozen shoulder can significantly limit your ability to perform daily activities....

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Break Free From Muscle Spasms In The Shoulder

Experiencing ongoing spasms that affect your shoulder’s important muscles can be painful and limiting. However, gaining a better understanding of their causes and what treatment options are available can help you regain control over your well-being.

If you are experiencing ongoing and severe spasms with concerning symptoms, don’t wait to seek medical advice. Your chances of experiencing the best possible health outcomes can be increased by promptly treating your shoulder muscle spasms.

By exploring effective pain management solutions like those we offer, you can find a comprehensive solution that does not rely on heavy medications or invasive surgeries.

Our experts are leaders in the field of Neuragenex  Neurofunctional Pain Management. We are proud to offer a promising approach that addresses the pain and inflammation brought on by conditions leading to muscle spasms.

Don’t let your shoulder muscle spasms limit your ability to enjoy the activities you cherish; we can work together to help you overcome muscle spasms and regain your mobility and comfort.

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