Hi, Dr. Ray Drury here with the Upper Cervical Spine Center, and I want to talk to you about neck spasms or back spasms. Where do muscle spasms come from? What causes a muscle to spasm? First of all, what a spasm is, is when a muscle contracts continuously and doesn't want to let go. Now, what would cause that? Well, a muscle spasms to protect itself. It's literally a protective mechanism to try to protect the muscle from tearing.
It has a fear that it's going to stretch to the point that it's going to rip or tear apart. So what it does is it contracts, and it stays contracted. And if it stays contracted long enough, then we call that a muscle spasm. Now your muscles have a reflex in the muscle itself to protect it. It's just to keep something from ripping or tearing. So the reason that you have spasms is because somewhere in that particular area, there's a fear that the muscle could tear.
So it's stretched beyond what it should be stretched. Now what would cause that? What happens is, you can have structural shifts in your neck, your upper back, your lower back, and when that happens you lose symmetry. When you lose symmetry, that means one side has to get longer while the other side gets shorter, which means one side's ultimately going to contract. The other side's going to stretch.
Now when it stretches, if it stretches to a certain point, then the body, to protect itself, the muscles will start to spasm, and they won't let go until you can re-approximate. You can make that muscle shorter again. How do you do that? Well, the only way to do that is to restore symmetry. So, what would cause your body to lose symmetry? Well, what happens is 99% of the time from my experience, is that one of the bones in the upper part of the neck can get out of align. When it does, it will actually take the head with it one way or another.
When it does, the brain then has a reflex called the Righting Reflex that says hey, our brain's not straight. We have to get the brain straight. Well, when this bone goes out of position and causes that head to tilt, it can't put it back. It's stuck. So what your body will do is, it will compensate for that head being out of balance. How will it do that? Well, let's say it went this way. Now as a result it might cause it to drop one shoulder trying to level the head.
Now, the muscles on this side get shorter. The muscles on this side obviously get longer. If they get stretched enough, the body will spasm, and it will start to cause shoulder muscle spasms, neck muscles contract in the spine. So you'll have spasms as a response to that muscle contracting. Now you can work on the muscles, and it might relax a little bit. But it keep coming back because it's still stretched. You didn't fix the underlying cause. The only way to stop the muscles from spasming on a regular basis is to re-approximate the muscle.
How do you do that? Well you have to go up here, and you have to correct what created the original imbalance, which ended up causing a change in symmetry or loss of symmetry in your body by correcting this bone. So if the bone went this way, what you have to do is now you have to bring the head back this way, and now the brain says, hey wait a minute. We're not level again, now it brings that shoulder back up. Now you have symmetry. Your body, the muscles are the same on each side at the neck. That could be in the back. It could be anywhere in your whole body.
So the best thing to do if you have muscle spasms in your neck, muscle spasms in your back, is try to find an upper cervical chiropractor to check to see if there's a loss of symmetry. I tell you what. You can do a test at home. This is the best way to do it. So get in front of mirror and close your eyes. Then turn your head each direction real slow, to the right, to the left. Then bring your head back to center, and now before you open your eyes, I want you to immediately look at your shoulders and look at your ear lobes, okay.
And I want you to look and see now, is one shoulder a little lower? Is one ear a little higher? Now if you want to take it to the next step, if you have a partner or somebody at home that can check you, go lay on the bed on your stomach with your feet hanging off. Put your feet together and see if your feet are the same ... if they're lined up. If your heels are lined up the same or if one's a little shorter or a little longer than the other, that means you've lost some symmetry in your body. Now that only happens in the case of a misalignment at the top of the neck.
So if I had an upper cervical doctor, if you go through this little home test and you see yeah, definitely a problem, or if you don't even want to go through the home test ... If you have neck spasms, muscle spasms, you need to get some help anyway. Find an upper cervical doctor near you. If you live in the Charlotte area, that includes Matthews, Mint Hill, Valentine, Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Lake Norman, Lake Wylie, Hunters, Davidson, give our office a call. Our office number is 704-588-5560. We never charge for the initial consultation to see what could be causing your health problem. If there's something we can help you with, we'll tell you exactly what we need to do. If it's not something we think we can help, then we will certainly find another specialist that we believe can help you.
If you don't live in the Charlotte area, Google it. Try to find upper cervical chiropractor near me, and if you can't find one, give our office a call. We'll do our best to try to help you out. Hope you have a great afternoon. Get those spasms taken care of. We'll talk to you soon.