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Acute Torticollis/Wry neck

Torticollis, or wry neck is a painful condition where the muscles in the front side of the neck go into spasm, resulting in pain and an alteration in normal, resting neck position. An acute torticollis often results from minor sprains/strains of the neck, sometimes so innocuous it can be difficult to recall any trauma at all, as such it is not uncommon for people to report these symptoms after waking up from a night’s sleep. Other times, it can result from sudden or repetitive movements, prolonged sustained postures or repetitive lifting. This may put excessive stress on the muscles and joints around the neck, resulting in pain. Common symptoms include neck pain, headaches and inability to move neck freely due to pain and muscle spasm.

The good news is, although painful it is usually benign and resolves within a few weeks. There are however a few things you can do to make the process a bit easier.

Things that might provide relief in the meantime:

Applying heat, manual massage and gentle stretching can provide some relief while things return to normal. It is also important to remain active to promote overall health while recovering, and low impact exercises such as walking, is a great way to stay fit, while avoiding any excessive strain to the neck while it settles.

Some treatment options include:

Management approach

A structured treatment plan plays an important role in the management of an Acute torticollis. This will start initially with gentle range of motion exercises and stretches, then progress onto strengthening to provide more dynamic muscular support to the neck. As with many musculoskeletal complaints, using a variety of treatment options and methods will generally lead to better clinical outcomes as we find what works best for you.