GET ACTIVE COLUMN: Tips to deal with awkward neck injuries

Warren G. Hutson Osteopath, Buxton.
Warren G. Hutson Osteopath, Buxton.

Some readers may be familiar with the hair flick injury or in medical terms “acute wry neck” injury.

It is a kink in the neck caused by a sudden aggressive neck movement and can cause injuries to the facet joints of the cervical spine.

Sporting and other activities can also injure the facet joints in the neck.

Waking up in the morning after a heavy training session without moving the head during sleeping causing the head to be in the wrong position for too long may also be a cause.

There are times when osteopaths have heard the patient say that they just woke up with it.

Minor whiplash movements can crunch and tighten the facet joints and this can create an injury, which can be very painful and restrictive.

What can we do to help these injuries?

The following list is useful for the therapist as well as the patient to follow.

It is estimated that it will take about 10-14 days to recover.

Anti-inflammation drugs may help (Prescribed by a GP).

Also avoid closing movements, try and sleep with the neck in neutral.

This can be done using a soft collar or by using a bath towel wrapped around the neck.

Manual therapy can also aid recovery, with gentle mobilisation of the facet joints helping to improve mobility and reduce the pain.

Gentle muscle release techniques and stretches will help to reduce tone and improve movement.