Well, it’s official, folks –it’s cold. We’ve written posts before on how cold weather affects chronic pain, but it also contributes to a condition known as Acquired Torticollis. Acquired Torticollis, otherwise known as stiff neck, is the result of muscle spasms in the neck. Symptoms include intense pain on one side of the neck and difficulty moving it without pain. You know the feeling – you can’t turn your head to check your blind spot, you can’t make any sudden movements.
A stiff neck can be caused by a number of things including poor posture or a muscle strain.
Muscle strains are the most common cause for stiff neck and are likely the reason you’ve experienced pain. The levator scapula muscle in particular is responsible for the pain because it is located at the back and side of the neck, connecting with the shoulder. The levator scapula muscle is easily strained and could be a result of the following activities:
Poor posture can also result in a still neck. Many individuals adopt what’s called antalgic posture, which basically means they slouch. The head hangs forward which over-elongates the neck muscles to support the head. Shoulders are also rounded forward increasing the tension in the neck and back muscles and shortening the front of the neck and chest muscles. Overtime, this position weakens the neck and back muscle’s natural ability to recoil back to a neutral position, resulting in greater susceptibility to muscle spasms.