What is an Acute Wry Neck?
Acute wry neck (also known as acute onset idiopathic torticollis) is that annoying pain that get when you feel normal before going to sleep, and wake up with a painful and stiff neck.
It may possibly be brought on by prolonged abnormal postures, an awkward sleeping posture, or sudden change in activity levels the day before. It can also be brought on by quick and sudden movements.
As a result, there may be sharp pain, stiffness and muscles spasms which lead to limited movement in the neck. The condition itself can be quite debilitating because small neck movements may lead to more muscle spasms.
There are usually 2 structures involved during an acute wry neck injury: the facet joint that connects two vertebrae in the neck together (zygapophyseal joint), or the disc between two vertebra.
The facet joint allows for movement of the neck, but it can sometimes feel like it’s stuck after a quick and sudden neck movement. With an acute wry neck caused by irritation to the facet joint, the neck may be temporarily bent and rotated towards away from the painful side at rest. Movement towards the painful side may lead to muscle spasms
The disc acts a shock absorber between each of the bones in your neck. It is usually affected when you wake up with neck pain. The pain may feel deeper and it is possible to be painful into the upper back region.
What Can Be Done About an Acute Wry Neck?
The good news is that acute wry neck is self limiting and will usually go away on its own in 24-48 hours with some symptoms sticking around for about a week. Facet joint related wry neck usually has a shorter recovery time than a disc related wry neck.
The not so good news is that it can be quite painful and annoying to deal with. They also often have high rates of reoccurrences.
Heat packs are a great way to decrease the amount of pain and the severity of the muscle spasms on the neck.
Soft tissue techniques, and manual therapy techniques done by clinicians can help with restoring range of motion, decreasing pain, and frequency of muscle spasms
Exercises for postural strengthening and neck motor control can help to reduce the likelihood of reoccurances.
How can a Physiotherapist / Chiropractor/ Registered Massage Therapist at Lift Clinic help with acute wry neck?
Our Lift Clinic clinicians are able to do an in depth assessment to determine what may have caused your acute wry neck. The assessment can also rule out any serious pathology, and also determine the type of acute wry neck and structures involved.
If you have been suffering from acute wry neck our Vancouver Lift Clinic clinicians can help you address the cause, reduce your symptoms, and plan out your recovery. Our clinicians can determine the best type of Phyisotherapy, Massage Therapy, or Chiropractic treatment depending on the type of acute wry neck. These include joint mobilisation, joint manipulations, soft tissue mobilisation, exercises and education about the condition. Our goal at Vancouver Lift Clinic is to help you get back to doing what you need to do.