Wry Neck Treatment

Our highly trained physiotherapists are experienced in the treatment of Wry Neck, also known as torticollis.  It can be both an acute and chronic condition, and without timely treatment, can cause debilitating pain and reduced functional mobility.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, the treatment help you to:

What is Wry Neck?

Wry neck, or torticollis, presents as a painful neck injury. The neck may be twisted to one side, and movement of the neck is often painful and very limited. You may notice severe muscle spasm, pain, and difficulty turning your head. Even getting out of bed can be painful.

Acute torticollis can last from 7 to 10 days or up to a few weeks. Without treatment, it can develop into a chronic and severe condition and increase the likelihood of recurrence in the future. This can also be known as cervical dystonia or spasmodic torticollis.

Question mark

What causes Wry Neck?

In most cases, the causes are unknown.  Anything, from a quick, sharp movements, to a sports or nervous system injury can cause a wry neck.  Sometimes, previous neck injuries can leave you susceptible to developing an acute torticollis.

Some people can wake up with a feeling of stiffness or pain, which could also end up being a case of torticollis.

Torticollis can also be congenital, developing in the womb and diagnosed at birth or in early childhood.

Symptoms of Wry Neck

  • Limited or abnormal movement of the neck
  • Severe pain on one side or in the middle of the neck
  • Headaches
  • Pain may radiate down your arm
  • Swollen neck muscles
  • Chin tilted to one side and pain if you try to correct it
  • Movements aggravate the pain
Wry Neck

What is Facet Wry Neck?

The most common cause of acute terticollis is a locked facet joint.

Your facet joints guide and limit the movements of your neck. The facet joints allow smooth gliding movements between the adjacent vertebra. Occasionally, your facet joints can become stiff through traumatic injury or arthritis or get stuck with extreme motion.

Signs of the condition:

  • A commonly reported history for the wry neck patient is to wake with a stiff and painful neck.
  • Onset of the wry neck is usually sudden.
  • The cause may have included a restless night sleep, uncomfortable pillow, waking suddenly in the night (e.g. a noise) or an unknown cause.
  • Wry neck pain is due to the numerous nerve endings in the facet joint and the tissues adjacent to the joint.
  • Facet wry neck is most common in the younger population, ranging from young children to people in their thirties.
  • Older facet wry neck sufferers tend to have a more gradual onset with the facet joints becoming stiff over time.

What is Discogenic Wry Neck?

An injury may also cause an acute wry neck to your intervertebral disc. This condition is known as Discogenic Wry Neck. Usually, the injured disc protrudes posteriorly and presses against surrounding structures and nerves.

Signs of the condition:

  • Sufferers generally experience a gradual onset of dull, diffuse pain.
  • Pain is usually felt in the lower neck, shoulder or upper chest.
  • Pain may radiate down into the arms.
  • Your neck is fixed and difficult to move. You will usually be holding your head and neck away from the painful side because of the pain. However, this is movement limited by the pain, rather than a mechanical block as in the facet wry neck.
  • Muscle Spasm.
  • Occasionally, you’ll experience pins and needles, numbness or weakness in your arms or legs. If this is the case, seek prompt medical assessment.

Treatment for Wry Neck

It is incredibly important to treat this condition as soon as you can after onset to reduce the severity of your pain and duration of recovery. Physiotherapists are most qualified to carefully unlock joints and mobilise muscles.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, our experienced physiotherapists specialise in treating acute torticollis and understand how to sensitively reduce pain and optimise your recovery. This can be done through:

Physiotherapy treatment is the most beneficial. Anti-inflammatory medication, rest and heat packs may help some of the symptoms.  In severe cases a neck brace or support could also help.

It is also recommended that you do not massage your neck to loosen it up yourself, or to overload it.  In doing so, you may make the condition worse, and your neck could lock or seize even more as a result.  Try not to push past the pain barrier, and limit any neck movement. Driving with severe acute torticollis is also not advised.

How to book an appointment?

All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.

You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.


Need Help?

If you think that you are suffering from wry neck, or are looking for a ‘physiotherapist near me’, our physios at Vitalis Physiotherapy can assess and diagnose the condition. They may also refer you to get scans in some severe cases to better understand your needs. Your treatment plan will be tailored to your needs to aid in your pain relief and recovery.

All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.

You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.

Contact us for more information on treatment

Contact Us



Sinnamon Park Village

3/58 Oldfield Road, Sinnamon Park Qld 4073


Give Us A Call