Wry neck / torticolis

Severe neck pain that is stuck bent in one direction

We often see this condition in the developing spines of adolescents.  It is not well understood or explained in the literature, but there are not usually any long term neck problems that stem from this alarming experience.  Usually, the person gets a bit of a twinge in the neck on one side and then they wake up the next day with the neck bent to one side because it hurts so much to hold the head upright.

The problem usually abates within 48 hours, so sufferers should take comfort in know it won’t last.  People with this problem often come into the osteopathy clinic thinking that something is ‘out of place’ and ‘needs to be put back in’, but that’s not the case at all.  Treatment involves releasing the muscles as best we can – and the rest of the spine needs to be worked on because you cannot carry your head in this manner without placing undue stress on the rest of the back.  However, if the problem is in the early stages, the patient will walk out just as bent over as when they walked in.