A sudden head movement by an athlete can sometimes result in a condition known as apophyseal wry neck. While quite painful, it usually goes away in a few days but it is essential that athletes do not ignore it. The recommended course of action is prompt consultation with a sports medicine professional, who will be able to properly diagnose the problem and decide on the appropriate treatment. So what exactly is apophyseal wry neck and how is it managed?
As Sport Wisdom explains in its article on the subject, apophyseal wry neck is a condition characterised by sharp neck pain and stiffness attributable to locking of the facet joints, that is to say, the joints between neck vertebrae. The condition can also result from an awkward sleeping position. Sometimes the pain spreads to the head and shoulders.
The main thing is to take immediate action because recovery may take a long time if the problem is ignored. Any sports activities are best discontinued since they could intensify the pain. Fortunately, a prompt response will help the problem go away in a matter of days.
Treatment usually starts with the application of techniques designed to alleviate the pain. Physiotherapists can be of great help here and specialists can also recommend modification of activity and anti-inflammatory drugs. After sufficient reduction in pain levels, sports medicine professionals can create a suitable programme of stretching and strengthening exercises. These will speed up the return to sports participation and minimise the chances of the condition coming back.