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Pain in the Neck (Cervicalgia), Torticollis (Wry Neck)

Pain located in the neck that does not radiate into the arms is called cervicalgia. Torticollis is a painful condition that can occur in young athletes after violent turning movements of the neck, e.g. when diving and when heading or jumping in soccer. It is probable that the nerve roots arising from the cervical spinal cord are affected by, for example, a momentary compression or stretching, causing a reflex spasm in the neck muscles.

Symptoms and diagnosis

– Vice-like pain is felt in the neck and in the angle between the nape of the neck and the shoulder, never extending below the shoulder joint. The pain is triggered by neck movements. The musculature is tender and tense.
– Twisting of the head is painful.
– Mobility of the back of the neck is impaired.


Treatment consists of:

– local heat treatment;
– analgesic and anti-inflammatory medication or muscle relaxants;
– rest from painful activities;
– traction;
– neck collar or heat retainer.

The condition often improves within a week. If this is not the case, a doctor should be consulted.

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