Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist Home Care pain control warning signs Outlook Underlying Cause Types congenital torticollis

Torticollis Overview

What is torticollis?
A person with torticollis has uncontrolled spasms of the muscles in the neck, which result in the neck remaining in a twisted position. Torticollis usually affects the sternocleidomastoid muscle, a powerful muscle that connects the upper chest to a point on the skull, just behind the ear. Contraction and spasm of the sternocleidomastoid muscle causes the head to remain rotated and tilted to one side. The most common cause of torticollis is a drug side effect. Rarely, infants are born with torticollis.

What are the symptoms of torticollis?
Symptoms of torticollis include neck pain, neck stiffness, and neck tenderness. A person with torticollis is unable to move the neck, and the head remains turned and tilted to one side.

How does the doctor treat torticollis?
Treatment for torticollis may include medications that relax the muscles, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain, narcotic pain medication, and physical therapy. Rarely, surgery is required to treat an infant with torticollis.

Continue to Torticollis Symptoms

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Torticollis References
  1. Jhee SS, Zarotsky V, Mohaupt SM, Yones CL, Sims SJ. Delayed onset of oculogyric crisis and torticollis with intramuscular haloperidol. Ann Pharmacother. 2003 Oct;37(10):1434-7. [14519055]
  2. Sa DS, Mailis-Gagnon A, Nicholson K, Lang AE. Posttraumatic painful torticollis. Mov Disord. 2003 Dec;18(12):1482-91. [14673885]
  3. Shim JS, Noh KC, Park SJ. Treatment of congenital muscular torticollis in patients older than 8 years. J Pediatr Orthop. 2004 Nov-Dec;24(6):683-8. [15502570]
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