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The term wry neck describes a condition where the neck becomes locked and painful. There can be a number of different causes of wry neck.

Common causes of Wry Neck

•    Poor sleeping position
•    Overexposure to cold or wind
•    A viral infection
•    Sudden jerking or flicking movement of the head


•    Usually a sudden onset or wake up with it
•    Pain and stiffness
•    Usually localized to one side of the neck
•    Pain that can spread from the top of the neck down to the shoulders
•    Pain increases with neck movement especially when movement is away from the side of pain
•    Muscle spasm over the painful area

Diagnosis and treatment

Your physiotherapist will be able to diagnose and treat this condition. With physiotherapy this condition usually resolves in less than a week. Management involves reducing pain and muscle spasm followed by regaining full range of motion of the neck. This may involve the use of electrotherapeutic modalities, mobilizations, soft tissue techniques such as trigger point release, heat, rest from aggravating activities, gentle stretches and strengthening exercises. Your physiotherapist will also provide you with a program of home exercises and advise you on any return to sport.