Wry Neck

Wry NeckWry neck, which is another of the common neck pain causes, is a condition of the neck that is medically known as torticollis. This is a condition where there is abrupt and severe neck pain which eventually may lead to contractions of the neck muscles. This will then cause the head to be turned to only one side due to problems in maintaining the normal head position.  

Wry neck may develop after a vigorous jerk or movement or even after a minimal head turn. Some may be awaken from their sleep because of the severe pain experienced. Wry neck can happen quite easily in children. It can also be a congenital deformity.

 What You Can Experience With Wry Neck

Most often, this condition is linked to the spasm of the scapula muscles known as trapezius, which is located in your upper back and reaches up toward your neck. Or, it can be associated with viral infections and herniated discs. 

Symptoms that you expect to experience are severe pain on one side of your neck and the inability to turn your head. The pain is more severe in the lower area of the neck and may radiate down to the scapula and shoulders, thus causing shoulder pain as well.  

You may also find yourself with certain symptoms like head tremor, headache, and limited movement of the upper and lower extremities. 

The Diagnosis For Wry Neck

The diagnosis for wry neck is done after physical examination. The physician first notes the kind of pain you are experiencing and observes your ability to maintain a good and proper posture. After which, medical exams will show a limited movement of the muscles and slowing down of the reflexes. Diminished reflexes can also indicate nerve root involvement and may signify a herniated disc.

Aside from a physical examination, the physician also notes your medical history and ask certain questions about your pain and disability. 

Normal x-rays of the neck are also performed to check for any fractures. CT scans and MRI imaging may also be done to make sure there are no abnormalities in the tissues of the neck like the presence of cysts or tumors.  

EMG is also a technique that records the electrical activity of the skeletal muscle. This exam is helpful in determining the nerves and muscles affected. This may be done if the diagnosis is not quite clear.

Treatment For Wry Neck

Treatment may include the use of muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications. Even though heat is very relaxing, alternating it with ice packs is a lot more effective. Ice packs not only reduce the pain but they also reduce the swelling of the tissues as well. 

An anti-inflammatory medication is effective in reducing pain and inflammation but a stronger prescription is needed when pain becomes more severe. There are a lot of prescription pain medications like opiate-based meds that can unfortunately cause side effects like dizziness, drowsiness and constipation. If you are on these meds and you start to experience these symptoms, call your doctor right away. 

Another treatment of wry neck is physical therapy. Physical therapy includes programs that can help in restoring back mobility and lessen pain.  

Surgical treatment is also another option for cases of permanent wry neck. The goal of this intervention is to cut and reattach the affected muscles to remove the constricting bands of tissues, improving the range of motion and allowing the head to be placed in a normal position.  

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