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Neck muscle spasms

ian1511's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: Jun 2011

Hi All,

It's been a while since I've posted. I finished radiation and chemo for nasopharyngial cancer in May of last year. It's been good so far with negative CTs and exams. I am truly grateful. Most of taste has returned and saliva is at about 70%. I can lick a stamp and envelop!

Of late, however, I've noticed intermittent spasms of the muscles in the right side of my neck and wondered whether anyone post radiation therapy here have had similar experiences and if so, was there anything could do to address this issue?



longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

I had those pretty badly after my first rads in 1998. I toughed it out, but it was miserable, on an intermittent basis, for about 4 years. Then it faded away. I had rads again last year for another cancer, and the spasms started again before I even completed the treatment. I started doing Tai chi warm up exercises, which is really just good physiologic stretching exercises, at the recommendation of several posters here. It worked very well for me. Within a week of starting the spasms stopped entirely. Alternatively you can get a referral for physical therapy, and they can do botox injections to temporarily paralyze the offending muscle, but for me, the stretching exercises were a simpler solution. You can buy a DVD of warm up exercises at Jessie Tsao's website, or a number of others. The DVD costs about $35.


fisrpotpe's picture
Posts: 1349
Joined: Aug 2010

i had treatments back in 96 and had the same problem with cramps. i too just fought it daily for many(unknown) years but has gone away mostly. like was said i may get a charlie horse once every two months.

i have no solution, hope you find one.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Hey Big D...

I finished Tx June 2009...

I do have an occasional cramp in my neck, pretty painful at the time, similar to a Charlie Horse...

But they are very few and far between.

So I haven't really investigated a remedy since they are so inconsistant.

Anyways, Pat sounds like he is on to something.. I think Greg53 does similar.


phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4672
Joined: Mar 2012

This is one side effect I haven't had.......yet. However, I sure have read a lot of other people's posts who do have them. LTS seems to have a handle on the problem...and if it were me, I'd follow in his footsteps....I'd much rather do a warm up exercise than go in for botox (unless that botox was for my face...then I might go for it...LOL).


Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

Describe what I experience as "spasms." I lightly massage the left side once in awhile, but don't know if that really helps. I'm 3 1/2 years out, and they gotten worse over the past year to a significant degree. My solution is to look upward to the ceiling or sky, which likely stretches what's stressed. Have mentioned it my regular Dr, but he's offered no real advice.


Greend's picture
Posts: 678
Joined: Feb 2010


I've had right side neck spasams for a long time now and I have found two things that help but don't stop them. First my wife bought some tei-fu ointment (I think Ben Gay would work as well but she wants tei-fu) and if I rub that in the area it seems to help. Also if you can find someone who does deep tissue massages. There is one very sensitive hot spot on my right shoulder and if the massuese (sp?) isn't careful working in that area it can hurt but after it is done it seems to help. I have found that if I just press lightly on this "hot sopt" for a while it hurts a little but then settles down and the spasams seem to stop. I don't know if the spasams are the cause but my rigt shoulder wants to pull foreward a lot when compare to my left side which really is apparent when I take off my shirt.

luv4lacrosse's picture
Posts: 1410
Joined: Jul 2010

I had a CT scan of my Cervical Spine and several of the discs in my neck have dried up. Most likely due to 35 bilateral radiation treatments to my neck. I also was a pretty serious powerlifter pre C and having a 750 squat bar on your neck for years probably started the damage, but the radiation finished me. I am just putting up with it until i must have surgery.


Posts: 1914
Joined: May 2012

Hello Darren !
Guessing I've joined the ranks with this issue too. Mine didn't start til last month. The posts above comparing them to a charlie horse are dead on. Mine last for awhile, and then I get soreness through out my cheeks. Almost as if I had been clenching my teeth (which by the way I don't have lol) all night. I have started using flexeril again to help relax this only at it's worse. I believe in the stretching exercises, and to lightly exercise daily. I also am trying new relaxation variations...music, candles, (ect) don't know if this will help but puts me in a better mood anyways. Will be watching for more advice on this one ! Good luck ! Katie

Crazymom's picture
Posts: 339
Joined: Nov 2011

I get them on the side of my neck where the radiation was. I usually get it at the end of the day when I am tired. I rest and if that does not help my husband will massage the area which seems to help. I get them less now that I used to...I am 8 months post radiation. Ann

SASH's picture
Posts: 399
Joined: Apr 2006

Still get them going on 13 years after treatment ended. They aren't often, but when they hit, oh boy!!! My way of relieving these is to look up at the ceiling or sky, depending if I'm inside or out, and rub my neck. After a minute or so, the pain goes away and I can continue on my day.

The worst time for this to happen is when you are in the bathroom and all of the sudden you can no longer see what you are doing. Keep a mop handy if necessary. LOL

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