Acute torticollis

Scenario

A patient presented to the chiropractor with a stiff and sore neck after waking up at home in Caringbah, Sutherland shire NSW.
It was a warm night with the window left open, but a southerly change occurred causing the temperature to drop.

What is it?

  • Also known as Wryneck, Acute Idiopathic Neck Pain.
  • A sudden and severe pain and muscle spasm with or without pain referral to the upper shoulder (supra-scapular) region

What are the symptoms?

  • Unilateral pain (severe):  “a crick in my neck”
  • Anxiety
  • Decrease movement primarily toward side of pain, Head often titled to opposite side (antalgia)
  • Tender muscle on side and front of neck (unilateral sternocleidomastoid) & shoulder to neck region (upper trapezius)Classically the patient wakes with pain + increasing spasm

What are the causes?

  • Trauma
  • Stress
  • Draft / cold air (eg open window at night, air-conditioning vent)
  • Muscle tension

Neck Pain