Wry Neck – Acute Torticollis
What is it?:- The term Wry Neck describes a sudden onset of sharp neck pain accompanied by stiffness
that can significantly limit range of movement. It typically occurs from a sudden quick neck movement or on waking first thing in the morning however there may have been unusual movements or poor postures leading up to it.
Wry necks can also occur in animals.
What Causes It?:- A wry neck can be caused by one of 3 things.
The most common is a locked facet joint in the spine. This is more common in younger people and normally occurs following a sudden head or neck movement.
The second type is from disc derangement which irritates the nerves. There is a more gradual onset of pain and it typically occurs on waking from a long sleep in an awkward posture. Pain is felt in the lower part of the neck and sometimes between the shoulder blades.
The last type is from neck muscle spasm known as torticollis. This will cause pain on one side of the neck and it will be most comfortable to hold the head towards the painful side with the chin turned away.
What can be done to help it?:- It is important to get examined by a qualified health professional, i.e. a physiotherapist, to determine which structures are involved. If treated immediately, the majority of the symptoms can be resolved within a few days. Treatment generally involves a combination of mobilisation, massage, stretching, and identifying any pre-existing factors, i.e. posture, to make sure they are also addressed and the recovery time is not prolonged.
For any questions contact our clinic (Sawtell/Toormina 66586111, Coffs 66527355) or book online