Acute wry neck is a very common type of neck pain. Pain occurs suddenly after sleep, which is accompanied by restricted neck movements. This protective mechanism may also reflect other potential neck problems.

Self File | 急性落枕(瞓捩頸訓厲頸) Acute Wry Neck_頸痛成因物理治療1




There is no specific cause of acute wry neck, but most people suddenly develop symptoms after sleeping. The most common causes are improper posture during sleep or improper softness and thickness of the pillow.


The physiological structure of the cervical spine allows the neck to flex, extend, and rotate to a large extent. Once the neck is injured, such as disc herniation or facet joint and ligaments over-pulled, inflammation will be caused, like a rusted door hinge jams the door. This causes pain and forms a protective mechanism of muscle tightening.
Self File | Acute Wry Neck 急性落枕(瞓捩頸訓厲頸)_Neck Pain Causes, Physiotherapy Treatment



Risk Factors

Anyone may suffer from acute wry neck, but it is clinically more common in young people. Also, people who have long-term poor posture and chronic neck problems will prompt to have acute wry neck due to high neck muscle tension and neck stiffness.



Common Symptoms
  • The neck pain and tightness mostly appear on one side, sometimes with head tilt to one side.

  • When you suddenly move your neck, you get a "stuck" feeling.

  • Usually, pain is accompanied by movements, and in a few severe cases, the pain will radiate to the head or upper limbs.




After examination, if other severe neck symptoms are ruled out, an acute wry neck is a disorder that is difficult to worsen. Most people recover within 48 hours spontaneously, although some patients suffer from pain for more than a week. The manual techniques for releasing soft tissue tightness and joint stiffness can effectively increase the range of motion after loosening the joints and muscles. In terms of self-management, hot pad and mild stretching exercises are effective in reducing pain and muscle tightness.

Self File | 急性落枕(瞓捩頸訓厲頸) Acute Wry Neck_頸痛成因物理治療運動1

Self File | 急性落枕(瞓捩頸訓厲頸) Acute Wry Neck_頸痛成因物理治療運動2

Self File | 急性落枕(瞓捩頸訓厲頸) Acute Wry Neck_頸痛成因物理治療運動3

Self File | 急性落枕(瞓捩頸訓厲頸) Acute Wry Neck_頸痛成因物理治療運動4



Preventive Measures

Always maintaining a good posture, maintaining the cervical spine on a normal physiological curvature, reducing neck stiffness and the pressure on the cervical spine can prevent acute wry neck. Also, do more stretching exercises to reduce muscle tension.




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