Acute wry neck (also known as acute torticollis) is a sudden onset of severe neck pain accompanied by spasm of the neck muscles. It can cause the neck to become “stuck” in a tilted or twisted position.
Some people find that they have just woken up with a painful neck which they are unable to move without experiencing sharp pain. Others feel pain after having the neck in one position for a prolonged period of time.
The good news is that acute wry neck generally resolves quickly, and there are a few things that you can do to get some relief straight away.
Booking in for a Physiotherapy assessment and treatment of the neck area is a great way of relieving the pain and increasing your neck movement. The assessment can help to rule out any other underlying causes for your pain. You can then be guided on what the best movements and activities are with a sore neck. Treatment may include soft tissue massage and gentle joint mobilisation to improve your movement, as well as some gentle exercises to maintain neck range of movement.
Anti-inflammatory and pain-relief medication can help, and it is best to discuss these options with your pharmacist or GP. Applying a heat pack to the area at home may also help to reduce your pain by relieving ongoing muscle spasm. Good head and neck posture, especially when you are sitting at a desk, will help to reduce the stress and strain on your neck. This in part relies on correct workstation layout for your body size and the tasks you carry out regularly at work. If in doubt you should have a workstation assessment to check and remedy any issues that may be contributing to a tight and painful neck.
It is best to seek advice from your Bend + Mend Physiotherapist as soon as possible to help rid you of that pain in the neck!