Wry neck, a common cause of neck pain, is medically known as Torticollis. It is a condition where there is abrupt and severe neck pain, which eventually leads to progressively tighter and more irritated neck muscles. Alternatively, your neck’s protective patterns may result in the same feeling without any sudden movement.
It can result from a sudden jerk or movement of the neck or even after a slight head turn, typically first thing in the morning. Some may even awaken from sleep because of the severe pain experienced during rest. It happens easily with children and can be a congenital deformity in new-borns.
In the case of an acute onset, most patients, when questioned thoroughly, eventually recall having a background of neck pain and stiffness leading up to the current event which they had learnt to just live with or prayed would go away if ignored.
What are the typical symptoms of a Wry neck?
What are the causes of Wry neck?
It is thought that the pain and immobility of Wry neck are results of 2 main causes which are:
Facet joints, located at the back of the spine, facilitate, guide and limit neck movement and should allow for smooth gliding movements between the vertebrae. They can occasionally stiffen through traumatic injury, gradual irritation, or a ‘scary’ movement like the sudden involuntary movement experienced when you get a fright or miss a step.
Restless sleep, waking suddenly, an uncomfortable pillow, or over-exertion in the last day or two, can all herald the onset of the sudden aggravated symptoms of a Wry neck.
Wry neck pain is caused by the muscles and nerve endings being on high alert, often encouraging fear of any movement, thereby perpetuating the problem.
What is my best course of action?
To save time and money, contact your Physiotherapist directly who, after assessing your neck and confirming which joints, muscles or disks may be causing havoc, will initiate a program of joint treatment techniques and soft tissue release to normalise Facet joint and muscle mobility, while restoring confidence in the movements and the safety of the discs.
While your Wry neck symptoms may show immediate improvement, you may have continued muscle spasm and swelling in the region, due to the protective pattern that remains after an initial treatment. It is however much easier to resolve a locked facet on day one, than having to correct an over protective pattern beyond the point where it has evolved into a Wry neck. So contact us as soon as symptoms arise and let us get you on the path to restored wellness as soon as possible.
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