Neck Pain Series - Part 1 : Acute Wry Neck⠀

Neck pain is one of the most common injury that we see in the clinic. For the patient, it can be an incredibly scary and distressing time due to the severe pain and restricted range that presents with it. In this series we are aiming to shed some light on the 3 most common neck conditions.


Today’s series is about acute wry neck which refers to a sudden onset of SEVERE NECK PAIN accompanied by SPASM of the neck muscles. This condition is quite scary as the patient usually presents with a PHYSICAL DEFORMITY where their head is either bent or twisted away from the painful side. This common deformity is an attempt by the body to use muscle spasm to PROTECT the injury.


Acute wry necks can be classified into:

1) Apophyseal - caused by locked facet joints. This is the more common cause.

2) Discogenic - caused by cervical disc injury.


Thankfully, this is a very common condition that can be successfully treated with physiotherapy. Your first session with your physio will “unlock” the muscle spasm and provide IMMEDIATE pain relief. It takes approximately 1-2 weeks to completely treat the residual effects of the injury restore normal range of motion and function.


As with all injuries the MOST IMPORTANT part after this is to uncover and target the CAUSE of the injury so that the risk of this occurring again is reduced. This could be due to a combination of posture, sedentary lifestyle, work/home ergonomics, sleeping habits, or even gym habits. Your physiotherapist will be the best suited to advise you on this!


Stay tuned for cervicogenic headaches (caused by the neck) in our next series!


Also our caring and friendly Chatswood or North Sydney Physio team would love to help you out, so reach out to us if you have any questions!

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