Medicine
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What is Torticollis Treatment?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Torticollis treatment is a treatment plan which is designed to relieve or resolve cervical dystonia, also known as torticollis or wry neck. This condition causes people to pull their necks to one side. While it can cause pain and discomfort in the short term, in the long term, it can lead to permanent damage, and the patient's neck may be permanently twisted or crooked. There are several approaches to torticollis treatment, including alternative medical therapies which can be highly effective.

Torticollis may be classified as acute, meaning that it has a sudden onset, or spasmodic, in the case of patients with chronic torticollis which is usually caused by a genetic abnormality. In both cases, the muscles in the neck shorten or contract, pulling the head and neck to one side. Torticollis can be painful, and it often onsets as a simple stiff or sore neck before developing into a more severe problem.

Individuals suffering from torticollis may benefit from a corrective brace or collar.
Individuals suffering from torticollis may benefit from a corrective brace or collar.

Developing a torticollis treatment plan usually starts with identifying the cause, as this can influence the treatment. If the condition is caused by the use of certain medications, for example, changing medications or altering a medication schedule can address the problem. Causes like a congenital case or trauma may require more intensive treatment.

Torticollis causes people to pull their necks to one side.
Torticollis causes people to pull their necks to one side.

For temporary relief, injections of botulinum toxin can be used. Patients may also benefit from muscle relaxers which will allow the contracted muscle to lengthen. For severe cases, surgery to cut the muscles may be used. Patients can also wear a corrective brace which slowly stretches the muscles in the neck and pulls the neck back into a normal position.

Physical therapy may be beneficial to individuals suffering from torticollis.
Physical therapy may be beneficial to individuals suffering from torticollis.

Physical therapy can be a highly effective treatment tool in torticollis treatment. Alternative practitioners may recommend massage to soften and lengthen the muscles, along with options like yoga to gently stretch the neck, or sessions of chiropractic to stretch the neck and increase muscle tone. Physical therapy with a more conventional approach, in which the patient is gently taken through stretches and exercises and given homework to do outside the physical therapy clinic, can also be highly beneficial.

A gel pack can be used to temporarily soothe the pain associated with torticollis.
A gel pack can be used to temporarily soothe the pain associated with torticollis.

It is important to treat torticollis, because it can get worse over time. Torticollis treatment does not have to be expensive, and it will significantly improve quality of life and comfort for the patient, especially in the long term. Patients should be aware that cervical dystonia can set in at any age, and it is important to be aware of abnormal neck pain or difficulties keeping the neck in a neutral position.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon74908

the neck pain is on the left side caused by a severe windy day where i caught a draft. since then it has not eased up. It seems like tightness above the left ear with pinching sensations above the left ear. getting caught in the draft occurred about a week ago and still no relief.

anon71766

Cold pack every 10 minutes and switch with moist heat (hot showers are the best).

anon62024

I've had this before but can't remember: do I use hot or cold on my neck muscles?

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    • Individuals suffering from torticollis may benefit from a corrective brace or collar.
      By: STOLBTSOV ALEXANDRE
      Individuals suffering from torticollis may benefit from a corrective brace or collar.
    • Torticollis causes people to pull their necks to one side.
      By: Lvnel
      Torticollis causes people to pull their necks to one side.
    • Physical therapy may be beneficial to individuals suffering from torticollis.
      By: jedi-master
      Physical therapy may be beneficial to individuals suffering from torticollis.
    • A gel pack can be used to temporarily soothe the pain associated with torticollis.
      By: JPC-PROD
      A gel pack can be used to temporarily soothe the pain associated with torticollis.