Waking up unable to lift your head off the pillow is excruciating. Stiffness seems to not cover the extent of how frozen your neck truly feels. In most cases of torticollis, or wry neck, neck mobility is severely impacted, preventing you from moving from side to side or tilting your head in any direction.
Needless to say, not being able to turn your head without hinging at the waist is problematic.
What is Torticollis or Wry Neck?
Torticollis is characterized by the locking up of the small joints located in the back of the neck. Once those joints become jammed, the muscles surrounding those joints follow suit and tighten around the problematic area. It’s a little counterproductive, but your body sees the joint issue as something it needs to protect which activates those muscles to safeguard them by tightening around the vertebrae. And voila, your neck is officially frozen.
What Causes Torticollis?
The majority of the time, symptoms first present upon waking and that’s no coincidence. Several of the causes of torticollis have to do with things happening while you sleep:
- Improper sleeping posture
- Overlooked injury
- Sleeping in irregular temperatures (going from warm to cold too quickly can cause muscles to tense up and spasm)
- Text neck
- Uncommon activities (lifting heavy objects, trying a new gym routine, keeping your neck static looking in one direction for too long)
Chiropractic Treatment for Torticollis
While the condition only lasts up to about 7 days if left untreated, a week is an awfully long time to go without the full use of your neck. Preventing the neck pain in the first place is, of course, ideal. But, if you’re already suffering from wry neck, there are a few things you can do before heading to get a professional opinion:
- Applying heat
- Gentle massage
- Conservative stretching and neck exercises
- Over the counter medications such as Ibuprofen to reduce swelling
If your condition is severe enough that you’re unable to go to work, you’ve got radiating pain into your shoulders or you just need to be back at it sooner rather than later, visiting a chiropractor can take your down time from a week to about 2-3 days.
Your chiropractor will be able to help you by prescribing a physical therapy program which should help get you back to normal. They may also suggest medications such as muscle relaxants or pain medications to help ease neck pain while also treating you in their office. If you’re around the Redondo Beach area, make an appointment with Catalina Medical Center to relieve your neck pain.