It is an uncontrollable and persistent contraction of a muscle or muscle group. The contracture compresses the small vessels that supply blood to the muscle, thus hindering the flow of blood to the muscle, this favors even more the contracture, thus creating a vicious circle that maintains the contracture. The muscle that most often is affected by the contracture is the trapezius muscle that is the most superficial, just below the skin.
Pain and painful difficulty to move the affected area, the muscles become stiff and generally force to maintain a position to avoid pain (anti-allergic posture), in the case of cervical contractures patients are usually with the neck stretched forward (propulsion) ) and sometimes slightly flexed and turned to the side. It is difficult and painful to move the head and it is usually necessary to move the trunk to be able to look at what is around. In addition there is pain when palpation of the cervical musculature is hard. Sometimes contracture can cause headache (headache), which is usually seen in the region of the neck and back of the skull. Other times the pain may extend to the shoulder following the path of the trapezius muscle.
Muscle contracture can be a symptom of an underlying disease, such as osteoarthritis, herniated discs or protrusions.
On other occasions the muscle contraction is the disease itself, without any other alteration of the base that favors it. In these cases the disease is usually due to bad postures maintained or repeated efforts. It is especially common in patients who maintain a fixed posture of the head for prolonged periods. This is especially common in administrative staff and other professionals who work with computers, as well as vehicle drivers.
The measures are aimed at promoting blood flow to break the vicious circle that keeps the contracture, these measures are mild rehabilitation and local local heat. The medical treatment will be carried out by means of muscle relaxants to which anti-inflammatories and analgesics may be added for the control of pain. The underlying cause should also be treated when this is the origin of the contracture.
Patients who have repeated contractures and those who are more prone to contractures, a change of position in their workplace, and perform periodic mobilizations of the neck in order to relax the cervical muscles are usually advised.