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Neck Cramps

Posts: 27
Joined: Aug 2011

Hello all! I haven't been in the forums in a looong time, but I know it's a great resource to turn to. Here goes. My hubby has severe, debilitating cramps in his neck that come on quickly and seemingly at random. He was diagnosed with neck cancer in May of 2011, had 12 rounds of chemo and 37 rounds of radiation that ended in September 2011. He was declared cancer free December 7, 2011. The cramps started roughly 6 months later. Our doctor, while great at beating cancer, is not really knowledgable with all the side effects that come along as a result of radiation. 


Has anyone else experienced this? What do you know about it? Does anything help? Should we worry?


Thank you in advance!


phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4672
Joined: Mar 2012

I haven't received this belated gift (not!!) from radiation damage.....but I know others here have talked about it.  Somebody will be getting back to you soon on this.  I think the Dr.'s are more aware of the damage than they like to say, because not every thing will affect everybody.  This forum is the best place to find out what to do about many of these types of things....so many folks with experience and practical knowledge.

Congrats to your hubby on his NED....love hearing stuff like this!!

longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

This is a very common lingering problem after rads.  I had it pretty badly with my first rads in 1998/  Random onset, though often triggered by lifting, for some reason.  Significant pain, pulling my chin down and to the left.  It was frequent, and hurt like hell when it happened.  No one suggested a treatment, and I just put up  with it.  It took about 4 years to stop.  With my second rads last year, spasms started inthe back of my neck before rads were even completed.  Radiation oncologist  offered physical therapy or injecttion with botox to paralyzee muscle.  Someone on this board recommended I do tai chi.  I found a guy who taught tai chi locally, and started the exercise program.  Within a few days my spasms completely stopped.  I do not have trouble with them at all, provided I do my tai chi warm up exercises.  You can find these warm up exercises on the internet, at amazon or ebay.  The dvd costs nothing compared to doing a lot of medical treatment, and it works.



Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Tammy...

Myself and others that also went through rads have them occasionally as well..., so it's not uncommon.

Mine are only occasionally and when I turn my head or twist my neck a certain way like Pat mentioned of his.

It's like a charlie horse in your neck, hurts like all h.e.l.l at the time, but doesn't linger or last.

Best ~ John

Greg53's picture
Posts: 848
Joined: Apr 2010


I’m with Pat on this one.  As long as I do the TaiChi exercises……no cramps (and ouch, those do hurt!).  If I skip those stretching exercises more than 2 or 3 days – back comes the cramps.  And while I enjoy TaiChi, you don’t have to practice that form to get relief.  It’s the stretching exercises of the neck and shoulders that seem to do the trick.  (But the TaiChi is kinda nice for de-stressing if you're into that kind of thing).  As mentioned, lots of info on the 'net on this subject.

Good luck!


ratface's picture
Posts: 1319
Joined: Aug 2009

Seems real men do yoga and Pilates, sometimes in tights.  Point is well taken in that some moderate form of regular exercise will in most cases make the condition manageable. I echo the sentiments, if I'm not in my tights at least 2 or 3 times a week, my neck  starts to hurt and get tight. Yoga takes all the tension out for days at a time. (39 rads, and selective neck disection)

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