Neck Pain

Wry Neck / Torticollis







What is it?

If you’ve woken up with a stiff and painful neck, that’s twisted to one side, you may have a wry neck.

It usually causes pain on one side of your neck but you may feel pain in the middle of the neck and in the shoulders and head.  

You may also find it difficult to straighten your neck or turn your head a particular way. 

The most common cause of acute wry neck is a locked facet joint, however in some instances it can be caused by injury to the intervertebral disc which is why a thorough assessment is performed for all presentations. 

What does it feel like?

  • Pain is generally located in the middle or side of the neck that is affected. The onset of pain is sudden. The pain experienced does not extend beyond the shoulder joint.

  • Loss of Movement – your neck is generally fixed in a flexed forward and rotated position away from the side of pain. All movements aggravate the pain, as the joint is fixed and movement triggers irritation to the joint and thus pain.

  • Muscle Spasm – this is a tightening of the associated neck muscles that further limit movement.

  • Pain may radiate down into the arms.

  • Your neck is difficult to move. You will usually be holding your head and neck away from the painful side because of pain. However, this movement is only limited by pain, not mechanically blocked as in the facet wry neck.


Why does this happen?

  • sitting or sleeping awkwardly, without sufficient support for your head

  • poor posture, such as at a workstation that is not ergonomically suited to you

  • carrying bags with unequal amounts of weight that cause your neck to strain, for example, a handbag on one side and heavy shopping bags on the other

Cervical Radiculopathy










What is it?

Cervical radiculopathy occurs with pathologies that causes symptoms on the nerve roots.Those can be compression, irritation, traction, and a lesion on the nerve root caused by either a herniated disc, foraminal narrowing or degenerative spondylitic change leading to stenosis of the intervertebral foramen.

Most of the time cervical radiculopathy appears unilaterally, however it is possible for bilateral symptoms to be present if severe bony spurs are present at one level, impinging/irritating the nerve root on both sides. If peripheral radiation of pain, weakness or pins and needle are present, the location of the pain will follow back to the concerned affected nerve root.


What does it feel like?

The main symptom of cervical radiculopathy is pain that spreads into the arm, neck, chest, upper back and/or shoulders. A person with radiculopathy may experience muscle weakness and/or numbness or tingling in fingers or hands. Other symptoms may include lack of coordination, especially in the hands.

Why does this happen?

Damage can occur as a result of pressure from material from a ruptured disc, degenerative changes in bones, arthritis or other injuries that put pressure on the nerve roots. In middle-aged people, normal degenerative changes in the discs can cause pressure on nerve roots. In younger people, cervical radiculopathy tends to be the result of a ruptured disc, perhaps as a result of trauma. This disc material then compresses or inflames the nerve root, causing pain.

Stingers / Burners



What is it?

Burners and stingers are injuries that occur when nerves in the neck and shoulder are stretched or compressed after an impact. These injuries are common in contact or collision sports, and are named for the stinging or burning pain that spreads from the shoulder to the hand. A burner or stinger can feel like an electric shock or lightning bolt down the arm.

In most cases, burners and stingers are temporary and symptoms quickly go away.


What does it feel like?

  • A burning or electric shock sensation

  • Arm numbness and weakness immediately following the injury

  • A warm sensation


Why does this happen?

An injury to the brachial plexus can cause a burner or stinger. This often happens when the head is forcefully pushed sideways and down. This bends the neck and pinches the surrounding nerves.













What is it?

Whiplash injuries are commonly caused by motor vehicle accidents, a sudden blow to the head from contact sports such as rugby or boxing,
being hit on the head by a heavy object or a slip or fall where the head is jolted or jarred.
Whiplash occurs when the neck is moved beyond its usual range of movement, which overstretches or sprains the soft tissues of the neck (tendons, muscles and ligaments).

What does it feel like?

  • Pain, especially in the back of the neck, that worsens with movement

  • Pain that peaks a day or so after the injury, instead of immediately

  • Muscle spasms and pain in the upper shoulder

  • Headache in the back of the head

  • Increased irritability, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and difficulty concentrating

  • Numbness in the arm or hand

  • Neck stiffness or decreased range of motion (side to side, up and down, circular)

  • Tingling or weakness in the arms

Why does this happen?

Whiplash injury usually results from sudden flexion and extension of the neck due to rear-end or side-impact car accidents.

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