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Pei-Jiun Cheah

Pei-Jiun Cheah

Torticollis: Waking up with a Wry Neck

Have you ever woken up in the morning with a stiff neck that is locked in place to one side or hurts to twist in a certain direction?

Was your stiffness associated with neck spasm? If that was the case then you have had Wry Neck otherwise known as Torticollis.

Wry Neck often develops gradually, after sleeping in a strained position like in a car or plane, or at an awkward angle in your bed.  This condition can also be caused by forceful or vigorous movement such as those experienced in a car accident, injury, or as a result of restless sleep.  There are many muscles in the posterior neck and any one of sternocleidomastoid, trapezius, splenius capitis, or the levator scapulae muscles can be the primary cause the stiffness and spasm experienced.  However the deep muscles shown at the far right of the images below are usually the perpetrators of a Wry neck

What can you do?

As most of the symptoms are a result of muscular tension and spasm, manual therapy such as joint mobilisations and soft tissue releases will work great.  Some suggestions to relieve those symptoms include using a spikey ball and/or a heat pack.

Neck exercises:

  • Holding lateral neck stretch
  • Slow neck rotation

What not to do?

Do not try to to crack or force your neck back into place. As this is a muscular problem using force may cause severe damage and potentially make the torticollis worse.

Still no relief?

If you are experiencing pain or spasm in your neck and haven’t been able to relieve the symptoms with the suggestions above come in to the clinic and let us do it for you!

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