woman in pain touching the back of her neck

Acquired Torticollis – Aka: Crick in the Neck

Waking up with a neck that can't move is scary.

Have you ever woken up with an intense spasm in your neck, or pain when you try to move your neck? The cause of your limited mobility could be Acquired Torticollis – otherwise known as "crick in the neck."


If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have Acquired Torticollis —

  • You wake with a moderate to intense spasm
  • The pain is often localized to one side of your neck
  • Everyone can tell your neck is out because your head is rotated and/or bent to one side
  • Your range of motion is severely limited and painful
  • You are unable to turn your neck, even slightly
  • Its feels worse when you try to move

It's really hard to get through your day without turning your head.

Acquired Torticollis generally passes spontaneously in a few weeks. Being in pain that long may cause a sense of dismay, but you don't have to wait that long.


The right treatment plan will speed up your recovery dramatically, in just a few visits. Feeling neck pain? Come see us.

Treatment for crick in the neck speeds recovery.

The biggest problem with Acquired Torticollis is the limited mobility in your neck. chiropractic manipulation, myofascial release, and blading all help get that mobility back.


Crick in the neck has many causes.

Your sleep position can cause it.

In our office, we may see a 5-year-old who hit his head falling out of a tree wake up the next day with his head stuck in one position. He has slept in an awkward position to avoid the bump on his head.

Cold temperatures can cause it.

We may also see a teenager who jumped out of a warm bed too quickly on a cold morning. In that instance, the patient heard a sudden pop sound followed by an intense neck spasm.

A few other biomechanical and musculoskeletal reasons are also possible —

  • Recent trauma
  • Whiplash
  • Roller coaster rides
  • A new pillow or mattress
  • Repetitive movements of the neck (like breathing when swimming, or looking over your shoulder while riding a bike)
  • Improper overhead lifting
  • Anatomical spinal abnormalities
  • A disc bulge with radicular pain down the arm


Daily life can sometimes give us neck pain and discomfort.

Crick in the neck happens. Your body will likely heal itself in time. But if you want to get back into life faster, the right treatment can help speed your recovery along. We recommend getting a proper diagnosis and treatment plan from a chiropractor for the best outcome.