The name literally means ‘twisted neck’ and is generally the result of an irritated nerve root which leaves the patient able to turn the head only one way because the muscle has cramped as a protective mechanism to prevent further damage.

Very rarely do people feel the strain occur when it first happens. Generally it takes up to forty-eight hours for the muscles to react. They provide a splint for the injury, so reduce movement while the strain is acute.

If an adjustment is done quickly, one treatment is often all that is necessary, although in my experience most require at least two.

Take the weight of the head off the neck, by using a towel or soft neck brace for support, for the first twenty-four hours. Better still, he down. If the condition is only muscular, and not an irritated nerve from a cervical sprain, the neck will be free quickly.

A young man came in with his neck rigid from pain. He said he had woken up with the problem as he found his cat had slept across his neck! I said we could leave the cat out of it. What had he done twenty-four to forty-eight hours before? ‘Only sailing’ was his reply.

I felt there were enough strong, twisting actions done whilst sailing to explain how his neck could have been injured. It was fixed, as is usual in acute cases, in two treatments.


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