This is a common condition when one develops a painfully stiff and tilted neck.
- There can be various causes such as muscle or nerve injuries though it is often difficult to determine the exact cause.
- What is known is that an Acute Wry Neck often comes with an inflammation of the facet joint (joints formed by the neck vertebrae), resulting in the meniscoid (cushion) folds being trapped between the facet joints.
Common Signs and Symptoms
- It is often experienced when waking up from sleep.
- Common symptoms include sharp pain and muscle spasm on one side of the neck.
- Patients tend to feel pain in the upper neck area closer towards the skull.
- Daily activities that require turning and tilting of the head such as parking the car, fastening seat belts and shaving can be painful.
- Longer sustained postures such as using the computer and reading off the handphone can also be uncomfortable.
How can a Physiotherapist help?
- Most cases of wry necks get better quickly without any treatment. However, some discomfort or limitation can persist even after the pain settles. In such instances, a physiotherapist can help by using manual neck traction (a form of manual therapy) to ease the facet joint stiffness, soft tissue massage to release the muscle tightness, low-grade spinal mobilisation or spinal manipulation to increase range of motion and then maintain neck mobility within your comfort zone with simple advice and exercises.
- In the occasional event that inflammation is detected during physical examination, we can refer you to a doctor to get anti-inflammatory medications to help with the pain.