Wry Neck (Torticollis)

Wry Neck (Torticollis)

Wry neck (Torticollis)

A wry neck or torticollis is characterised sudden by the sudden onset of severe neck pain accompanied by spasm of the neck muscles causing the neck to lean or rotate away from the painful side. This abnormal posture occurs on one side of the neck and is a protective reaction of the body to safeguard the neck. It is very common to wake up with a wry neck and for the pain and muscle tension to then increase progressively over the course of the morning.

What is the cause of wry neck?

Wry neck is not a diagnosis, but rather a symptom of cervical dystonia of the neck muscles and may be congenital or acquired. It can arise from many different causes. However, it is the thought that the pain and loss of movement is due to two mechanisms, Either Wry Neck caused by a locked facet joint or Discogenic Wry Neck caused by a cervical disc injury.

The most common cause of wry is a locked facet joint.

Facet joints are found on each side of the neck between two vertebrae and are intended to allow smooth gliding movements between the adjacent vertebra. Each facet joint is covered by a joint capsule, which is rich in nerve endings to detect movement and pain. Occasionally your facet joints can become stiff due to trauma, arthritis or simply get stuck at extreme ranges of movement. It is as though these joints become jammed or locked rather like a door jamming on its hinge. The result is painful protective muscle spasm.

What are the symptoms?

  • A sudden sharp pain that can be felt in around the areas of the base of the skull, upper back and shoulders, mid-back or neck.
  • Some people may present with frequent headaches or even ringing in the ears.
  • The muscles on one side of the neck are often in spasm and very tender to the touch. Attempts to move the neck result in increased pain.

What is the treatment?

  • soft tissue massage
  • Joint adjustment
  • joint mobilization & traction
  • postural taping
  • dry needling
  • exercises to improve neck strength, core-stability, flexibility and posture
  • activity modification advice
  • ergonomic advice

Wry neck pain normally subsides within 24-48 hours. However the residual effects may last for up to one week. It is also important to restore your neck function and movement, and address any underlying issues that could allow this condition to reoccur.

In Good Hands Chiropractic offers a safe, non-intrusive, and most importantly a long-lasting form of neck pain relief that benefits all members of the family

For more information or to book an appointment call us on 02 8095 0393 or book online

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