Torticollis (also known as wryneck) is a disorder characterized by the extension, flexion, or twisting of the neck muscles beyond their normal position. With this disorder, a person’s neck tends to twist one side, which causes tilting of the head. Torticollis can result from trauma or develop slowly, especially for people with a family history of the condition. It can also occur due to an adverse reaction to drugs.

In newborns, the disorder can happen as a result of positioning in the womb, or due to a difficult childbirth (trauma during birth). This form of the disorder is known as congenital muscular torticollis or infant torticollis.

When torticollis occurs in people with a family history of the disorder, it is known as spasmodic torticollis. The twisting of the neck for these individuals is initially spasmodic and it starts between the ages of 31 to 50 years. Spasmodic torticollis can become permanent if left untreated.

Excessive twisting or bending of one’s neck can result to acute torticollis. Acute torticollis has few symptoms, although a person may feel uncomfortable and often holds his head rotated to one side. It is also painful to move the head to the opposite side.

Causes of torticollis

In adults, acute torticollis can be caused by a variety of conditions. Trauma to the spine or neck can lead to the disorder. Torticollis can also be caused by the infections to the head or neck. Such infections can lead to inflammatory torticollis due to inflamed lymph nodes and other glands. This inflammation causes the contraction of muscles overlying these lymph nodes and glands.Other infections can also lead to the disorder, these include the infections of the sinuses, mastoids, ears, scalp, teeth, or jaw. Occasionally, vascular abnormalities, scar tissues, arthritis of the spine, or tumors may cause the condition.

In rare instances, the disorder occurs for unknown causes.

How do you know if someone has the condition?

Since spasmodic torticollis leads to the abnormal contractions of the muscles on one side of the neck, individuals with this disorder have their heads turned to one side. Their muscles in the neck and those between the neck and the shoulder appear to be tense and tender. People with acute torticollis are normally unwilling to turn their head to one side due to pain. They may also turn their head away from the side with pain. Other symptoms of torticollis include pain in the shoulder and back, muscle tightness, burning sensations, neck cramps, and headache.

Effective treatments

When treating torticollis, the goal is to relax the contracted neck muscles. Treatments options include medication, surgery, physical therapy, and chiropractic adjustments. Both physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments are effective ways to treat the disorder.

If you, or someone in your family has torticollis, please contact our office as soon as possible, since early treatment delivers the best results. During treatment, our team of health professionals will work to correct muscle imbalances, strengthen neck muscles, enhance symmetry and postural control, and improve the body’s alignment by easing muscle tension. All of these goals can be accomplished through massage, stretching, kinesio taping, strengthening, and positioning.

Chiropractic treatment is particularly helpful. Chiropractic care involves gentle spinal adjustments to realign the spine and reduce neck and back pain. Continued chiropractic treatment will help relax the muscles and increase joints movements. As a Garland chiropractor, I will work to restore normal movement of the strained vertebrae. Special attention will also be given to the contracted muscles.

Additionally, I will offer instruction on correct sleeping postures, take home exercises, and use of orthopedic cervical pillows if appropriate.

Texas Spine & Wellness is a medically directed, chiropractic clinic. Our health care professionals include myself, a chiropractor, a nurse practitioner, MD, as well as a team of exercise physiologists and massage therapists.

We have the expertise and experience to treatment all types of muscles and joint pain. So if you’re suffering from any kind of painful neck, spine or joint condition, please contact us today. Our friendly front desk staff will help you schedule an appointment. Our convenient office hours include evening and weekend appointments.

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