Acute Wry Neck

Lady with a sore neck
There’s nothing cute about an acute wry neck!

Acute wry neck, also known as torticollis, is when your neck suddenly becomes stiff and painful. Symptoms include feelings of tightness, muscle spasms, reduced movement, and pain all on one side of the neck. If you have an acute wry neck, you may find you are often pain-free as long as you keep your head and neck still.

Who gets an Acute Wry Neck and why?

Whilst anyone can suffer from a wry neck, teens and adults tend to get wry neck more often, and research shows that women are more susceptible. 

No single cause of wry neck has been identified in the research, but one potential reason is that sudden neck movements can trigger muscle spasms and pain.

How does physiotherapy help?

Your physiotherapist will run through an assessment to identify any loss of movement at the head, neck and shoulders, especially with bringing the ear towards the shoulder or looking behind you. These movements can feel painful, “tight”, or both.

We also have a feel of the muscles around your neck and shoulder. It is normal to feel very tender in these areas as your muscles are in “protection” mode and spasming to stop you moving in these different directions.

After assessing your neck, we have a range of treatment options we can use to help reduce your pain and restore your normal movement again. These include:

  • Gentle exercise to encourage movement of the neck
  • Stretches
  • Soft tissue mobilisation of the spasming muscles
  • Spinal mobilisation
  • Dry needling

Everyone’s neck pain will be different, so your physiotherapist will tailor the treatment protocol depending on the findings in your assessment and your history.

How long until my wry neck gets better?

The good news is that for most people, wry necks are self-limiting, meaning that they will go back to normal within a few days to a week. However, in some cases it can take up to four weeks for symptoms to completely resolve. It doesn’t mean that you’ll have the same level of pain for the four weeks; your symptoms will continually get better as each day passes.

If you think you have an acute wry neck, or your neck is giving you grief, give us a call on 1300 738 609 or book online to see one of our friendly physiotherapists! Let us help you find your Solution today.

Get Started now, book an appointment today

Take the steps to reach your health goals.
Book Now

Or Call 1300 738 609

Frequently Asked Questions