Please be patient! It may take up to ONE minute to load all the Engines.
Problems? Please contact our support.
Alternative namesWry neck; Loxia
DefinitionTorticollis is prolonged contraction of the neck muscles that causes the head to turn to one side.
Causes, incidence, and risk factorsTorticollis may occur without known cause (idiopathic), be genetic (inherited), or be acquired secondary to damage to the nervous system or muscles. It may develop in childhood or adulthood. Congenital torticollis (present at birth) may be caused by malpositioning of the head in the uterus, or by prenatal injury of the muscles or blood supply in the neck.
Signs and testsVarious tests or procedures may be done to rule out possible causes of head and neck pain. A physical examination will show a visible shortening of the neck muscles and the head will tilt toward the affected side while the chin points to the opposite side.
Treatment of congenital torticollis involves stretching the shortened neck muscle. Passive stretching and positioning are treatments used in infants and small children. Surgical sectioning of the neck muscle may be done in the preschool years, if other treatment methods fail.
Drug treatments include anticholinergic drugs (baclofen). Injection of botulinum toxin is very effective to temporarily relieve the torticollis, but repeat injections every three months are usually required. Surgical treatments are rarely used.
Expectations (prognosis)The condition may be easier to correct in infants and children. If the condition becomes chronic , numbness and tingling may develop as nerve roots become compressed in the neck. Botulinum toxin injections often provide substantial relief.
Some complications include neurological symptoms from compressed nerve roots.
Calling your health care providerCall for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms do not improve with treatment, or if new symptoms develop.
PreventionWhile there is no known prevention, early treatment may prevent a worsening of the condition.
Update Date: 1/16/2004Jacqueline A. Hart, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Newton, Ma., and Senior Medical Editor, A.D.A.M., Inc. Previously reviewed by Elaine T. Kiriakopoulos, M.D., M.Sc., Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard University, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (5/8/2003).
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT