What You Need To Know About Wry Neck

If you have ever experienced wry neck pain or know somebody who had this condition, you understand that it can be very discomforting. It is the type of pain that makes hard work out of even the most basic of movements. Every attempt to turn the neck is accompanied by excruciating pain. For some, it is impossible to get out of bed independently.

What is wry neck?

Wry neck is a form of neck pain that affects the muscles around the base of the skull and top of the shoulders. In most cases, the stiffness is more severe on one side than the other. The extreme pain on one side causes a condition called twisted neck or torticollis. Even though the discomfort may be caused by a minor injury such a slight muscle tear it can result in debilitating pain and disability.


  • Stiffness of the neck that makes it impossible to turn to either side
  • Tilting of the head towards the side that is experiencing severe pain
  • Headache
  • Muscle spasms in the upper back and the neck

Causes of wry neck

Research on the relationship between posture and muscle pain is not conclusive, but keeping neck muscles in the same position for an extended session can cause stiffness. The major causes include:

  • Neck injury that may have gone unnoticed
  • Sudden change of direction or movement that caused neck muscles to snap or tear
  • Maintaining poor posture for a prolonged period
  • Recent deep tissue massage
  • Lifting heavy objects or equipment for an extended period
  • Awkward positioning of the neck during sleep or rest
  • Cold weather is associated with increased cases of wry neck


  • Always maintain a proper posture at work and when sleeping to avoid overstretching neck muscles
  • Wrap a scarf around your neck or wear a hood jacket to protect your neck from the cold breeze
  • Use ergonometric sitting arrangement at work to spread out the load applying on your neck muscles
  • Take breaks and regular exercises at work to balance out the load on your muscles and joints
  • Engage in practices that facilitating deep breathing such as yoga


Wry neck can be improved within 48 hours if you use the appropriate neck pain treatment remedies.

  1. Start by reducing neck movement to the minimum.
  2. Next, use a heat pack to massage the neck muscles to make them relax. The heat pack should be used intermittently applying it for 20 minutes after a couple of hours.
  3. Reduce the pressure on your neck by placing a travel pillow around the neck to increase stability.
  4. Place a rolled towel between your neck and shoulder when sleeping to avoid stretching neck muscles.

Chiropractic intervention

If the pain persists, you can try chiropractic neck pain treatment. The chiropractor will work around the hypersensitive muscles to reduce stiffness and increase movement. The chiropractor will decide the best treatment for your condition among options such as active release and light trigger point therapy. They may also decide to use ultrasound on the most painful areas.