Wry neck presents itself as an acutely painful neck either caused by a sudden unexpected motion or discovered upon waking. In either case the pain is so debilitating that medical help is usually sought.
The acutely painful neck presents itself in one of two ways either a lack of mobility turning towards the painful side. The other typical presentation is that the person suffering wry neck has to hold the head bend and turned away from the side of injury.
The most effective treatment is manual therapy consisting of a quick manipulation if pain allows (or joint mobilization).
After the manual therapy treatment is followed up by heat and electrical stimulation for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes a series of exercised to regain range of motion is undertaken. This wry neck treatment program was first written about by New Zealand physiotherapist Brian Mulligan. http://www.bmulligan.com/about/concept.html
In the vast majority of cases after this physiotherapy session the mobility is considerably improved. The patient is then instructed to continue this program again that evening and again next morning. If sleep is disturbed a towel rolled up around the neck can be used at night.
The good news is that around 90% of patients will feel better with early treatment in 1-2 days.