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Neck Pain: Acute Wry Neck

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Neck Pain: Acute Wry Neck

By Chelsea Longbeach Physiotherapist
Michelle Lowry


There are many structures in and around the neck which, in certain situations, can contribute to neck pain and/or headaches.  One common presentation of neck discomfort, is called Acute Wry Neck pain.


What is an Acute Wry Neck?

A sudden development of neck stiffness and pain, especially when turning your head sideways.  You may not be able to turn your head at all, or it may just be in one direction.  It is the result of a stiff and irritable “facet joint” in your neck (one of the joints in your spine).

There is another form of wry neck, which can develop slowly over time, which is caused by a different injury.


What causes Acute Wry Neck?

Stiffness through the facet joint, either through injury, muscle spasm or arthritis.


For example, you may have slept ‘funny’ the night before, in an different position than usual, or used a higher/lower pillow.

You may have gone to bed with wet hair, creating a draught under your neck, which in turn may lead to muscle spasms and a stiff joint.

You may have held your neck in a awkward position, for an extended period of time.


Where will I feel the discomfort?

Most commonly, the pain is localised to the side of the neck, although sometimes it can feel like it’s in the centre.  You will generally also experience tight muscles around the joint, limiting your movement.


What can my Physiotherapist do to help?

  • Relax muscle spasms
  • Mobilise stiff joints
  • Help you regain full range of movement in the neck joints
  • Strengthen deep neck muscles, to normalise movement
  • Screen for more serious conditions
  • Prevent longer term compensation strategies from developing


CLICK the link below to book appointment with one of experienced physiotherapists if your neck pain just wont leave you alone. ??


Did you know our physio’s can provide a referral for an immediate XRay or MRI.  No GP referral required.

For all your sports physio needs, Chelsea Longbeach Physiotherapy can help.

Please contact our lovely administration staff on 9772 0672 OR Book Online.

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