Torticollis / Stiff Neck / Wryneck / Cervical Dystonia

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General Info About Torticollis

Torticollis refers to a twisted neck in which the head is bent to one side, while the chin is turned to the other. It is also known as wryneck.


Stiff Neck

The word 'torticollis' comes from the Latin word ‘tortus’ meaning ‘twisted’ and collum meaning ‘neck’.

Torticollis affects people of all ages, mainly between 30-60 years of age. In torticollis there is flexion, extension or twisting of the neck muscles beyond their normal position.

The exact cause of torticollis is not known. Torticollis can develop slowly in a person with a family history of the disorder (spasmodic torticollis). Torticollis can also develop due to injury or in some cases as a side effect to certain medications.

Females are affected more than males. Stress and emotion can exacerbate the deformity.

Types of Torticollis

► Congenital torticollis (inherited)-
This type of neck deformity is present at birth and is due to changes in the genes.

► Acquired torticollis (acute) - This type of neck deformity can occur overnight. It occurs due to damage to the nervous system, upper spine, or muscles. It usually lasts for few days and subsides with rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

The treatment of torticollis is targeted to relax the contracted neck muscles involved. Treatment might involve medications, physiotherapy, botulinum toxin injections or surgery. Timely treatment is extremely crucial, else the condition becomes permanent.

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Hello,I am from Assam and my problem is that my son is 13 years old and has congenital torticollis. His head is noticeably tilted to one side and the muscle on the side of his neck is constantly taut. his face has also developed asymmetrically.If someone tell me , In India,which hospital is best for congenital toricollis surgery,kindly provide me the adress and contact details.

My daughter [13 years] has congenital torticollis. We did some physiotherapy at young age but due to poor insurance and our negligence did not do much. Now she has a bit of facial assymmetry (not noticable) and tilted head (noticable). She has full range of motion and can keep her neck straight if she is concious. Is there anything we can do for her now ? Will Physio/Chiropractic help at this age ?

salman58

My brother aged 58 has neck and right hand torticollis. It started with neck now his hand is twisted up to his head. He has it for 5 years. Lots of pain and discomfort to him. He has been to many neurophysicians and has regualr physiotherapy but to no avail. Is he a candidate for surgery and by whom? He lives in Islamabad Pakistan. Any recomendations would be greatly appriciated.

misty.009

hi have a problem with my neck going to the right had a mri scan showed wear and tear but still have the same problem with my neck would i need a second opipion,thanks

I am 16 and have had wry neck for my entire life; I believe it is due to birth trauma, but the cause is no longer important to me. My head is noticeably tilted to one side and the muscle on the side of my neck is constantly taut. My face has also developed asymmetrically, and as a 16 year old, all of these symptoms bother me; I have only just started searching for ways to fix this, as I became more self conscious, and have received very vague answers, with most people only having experience with treating wry neck in young children, saying things like "see a chiropractor and hope for the best" or that surgery may most likely be required. I was wondering if anybody could tell me if this sort of surgery would be covered by health insurance, and also if surgery to fix the asymmetry of my face could be covered, as it's gotten to the point where I look in the mirror and my facial features look as if they have slid diagonally to accommodate my tilted head.

shriner

Try contatcting Shriners Hospitals for Children. They treat children all over the country with this condition. There are 22 hospitals, so I am sure one is near you. All treatment is provided regardless of your ability to pay.

K.Tess

Hi, I'm 15 I have the same problem and I am scheduled to have surgery in a week, it is covered by health insurance. My doctors have told me that after surgery, I will have to have rigorous physical therapy, to retrain my neck to hold it self upright. Im hoping that after surgery and therapy, my face will retain it's symmetry. I wish you luck. :]

wow, good luck to you! Can I ask what the surgery is called, because after I posted this, I went to see someone about my neck at a hospital, and they basically told me I was stuck like this my entire life, the only surgical way of fixing it being a way that will result in straightness, but complete lack of mobility. I didn't really know enough to argue otherwise, so I've been told to just see a physio to keep my neck mobile

Neisha042

Hi Liza77s, reading your story, made me wish i had read this a year ago, I hope your still out there researching. I was you 25 yrs ago and my neck never stopped. It was hard all the time and twisted just like yours, I have had the surgery and years later know i would never have made it, without having made this very scary choice. I still go to chiropractors regularly, I will keep watching. you can contact me and i will give you all the info i have thinking of you _ Nat

Hi Nat, thanks for your encouragement :] I have continued searching and found papers published overseas possibly that explored the treatment of neglected torticollis like mine through surgery, something like bipolar release of sternomastoid muscles, and the results included photos that showed that it was really effective, even in fully mature adults. The authors went so far as to recommend it for everyone, even if it will not be completely reversed, as it helps a lot. Is this what you underwent, because where I live I don't know where I should go for this kind of thing, or even if it would be recommended?

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