About torticollis

What is torticollis?

Cervical dystonia, also known as spasmodic torticollis, is a rare neurological disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions in the neck that cause abnormal movements and postures of the neck and head. In some cases, these abnormal contractions may be sustained or continuous; in others, they may be present as spasms that can resemble tremor. The severity of cervical dystonia can vary, but the disorder can cause significant pain and discomfort as well as difficulty due to the abnormal postures. Cervical dystonia typically begins in middle age, and rarely begins in adolescence and young adulthood. The cause of cervical dystonia is unknown, although a genetic susceptibility is thought to underlie some cases. If cervical dystonia begins in infancy or early childhood, secondary causes should be investigated.

Cervical dystonia is the most common form of focal dystonia that presents in an office setting. Dystonia is generally characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that force the body into abnormal, sometimes painful, movements and positions (postures). Cervical dystonia is a form of dystonia that involves the neck area. Symptoms may vary among affected individuals, including the age at onset, intensity, presence of pain, and degree of disability.

What are the symptoms for torticollis?

Pain that travels down the arm on the same side as the twisted neck symptom was found in the torticollis condition

Symptoms of wry neck can begin slowly. They may also worsen over time. The most common symptoms include:

  • an inability to move your head normally
  • neck pain or stiffness
  • a headache
  • having one shoulder higher than the other
  • swollen neck muscles
  • a tilting of your chin to one side

The faces of children with congenital wry neck may appear flattened and unbalanced. They may also have motor skill delays or Difficulties with hearing and vision.

What are the causes for torticollis?

Wry neck can be inherited. It can also develop in the womb. This may happen if your baby’s head is in the wrong position. It can also be due to damage to the muscles or blood supply to the neck.

Anyone can develop wry neck after a muscle or nervous system injury. However, most of the time, the cause of wry neck is unknown. This is referred to as idiopathic torticollis.

What are the treatments for torticollis?

Currently, there’s no way to prevent wry neck. However, getting treatment quickly can keep it from becoming worse.

You can improve congenital forms of wry neck by stretching the neck muscles. If started within a few months of birth, it can be very successful. If this or other treatments don’t work, surgery can sometimes correct the problem.

Your doctor can treat acquired wry neck according to the cause if it’s known.

Treatments for wry neck include:

  • applying heat
  • massage
  • physical therapy or chiropractic care
  • traction
  • stretching exercises
  • neck braces

Your doctor may recommend surgery, such as:

  • fusing abnormal vertebrae
  • lengthening neck muscles
  • cutting nerves or muscles
  • using deep brain stimulation to interrupt nerve signals (used only in the most severe cases of cervical dystonia)

Medications can be helpful. They can include:

  • muscle relaxants
  • medications used to treat the tremors of Parkinson’s disease
  • botulinum toxin injections repeated every few months
  • pain medications

What are the risk factors for torticollis?

Torticollis is a medical condition that causes your neck muscles to become tight and shortened. It can be caused by several different things, including whiplash, trauma to the head or neck, cerebral palsy, or other conditions.

Torticollis can cause pain in your neck, shoulder, and upper back. The pain can be severe enough that it interferes with your ability to sleep or work. The muscle spasms in torticollis may cause one side of your face to droop, giving you a crooked smile or asymmetrical eyes. In severe cases, torticollis can cause difficulty breathing or swallowing due to compression of nerves in the neck.

The four risk factors of torticollis are:

1. Sitting in a car seat with the head turned to one side for long periods of time

2. Prolonged positioning on one side during sleep

3. Hypermobility of the first ribs (the ribs closest to the head)

4. Congenital anomalies, such as spinal stenosis or Klippel–Feil syndrome

Head pain,Neck pain,Pain that travels down the arm on the same side as the twisted neck,Difficulty swallowing, speaking, or breathing,Dizziness,Blurred vision
Birth trauma,Torticollis caused by trauma to the neck,Torticollis caused by inflammation of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) or its tendon or bursa,Torticollis caused by inflammation of the cervical muscles,Torticollis caused by a tumor in the neck,Torticollis caused by an injury to the spinal cord
Cervical traction,Physical therapy,Surgery

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