Learn About Torticollis

What is the definition of Torticollis?

Torticollis is a condition in which the neck muscles cause the head to turn or rotate to the side.

Save information for later
Sign Up
What are the alternative names for Torticollis?

Spasmodic torticollis; Wry neck; Loxia; Cervical dystonia; Cock-robin deformity; Twisted neck; Grisel syndrome

What are the causes of Torticollis?

Torticollis may be:

  • Due to changes in genes, often passed down in the family
  • Due to problems in the nervous system, upper spine, or muscles

The condition may also occur without a known cause.

With torticollis present at birth, it may occur if:

  • The baby's head was in the wrong position while growing in the womb
  • The muscles or blood supply to the neck were injured
What are the symptoms of Torticollis?

Symptoms of torticollis include:

  • Limited movement of the head
  • Headache
  • Head tremor
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder that is higher than the other
  • Stiffness of the neck muscles
  • Swelling of the neck muscles (possibly present at birth)
Not sure about your diagnosis?
Check Your Symptoms
What are the current treatments for Torticollis?

Treating torticollis that is present at birth involves stretching the shortened neck muscle. Passive stretching and positioning are used in infants and small children. In passive stretching, a device such as strap, a person, or something else is used to hold the body part in a certain position. These treatments are often successful, especially if they are started within 3 months of birth.

Surgery to correct the neck muscle may be done in the preschool years, if other treatment methods fail.

Torticollis that is caused by damage to the nervous system, spine, or muscles is treated by finding the cause of the disorder and treating it. Depending on the cause, treatment may include:

  • Physical therapy (applying heat, traction to the neck, and massage to help relieve head and neck pain).
  • Stretching exercises and neck braces to help with muscle spasms.
  • Taking medicines such as baclofen to reduce neck muscle contractions.
  • Injecting botulinum.
  • Trigger point injections to relieve pain at a particular point.
  • Surgery of the spine might be needed when the torticollis is due to dislocated vertebrae. In some cases, surgery involves destroying some of the nerves in the neck muscles, or using brain stimulation.
Who are the top Torticollis Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
40
conditions
Neurology
Psychiatry

Baylor McNair - Allergy

Houston, TX 

Joseph Jankovic is a Neurologist and a Psychiatrist in Houston, Texas. Dr. Jankovic has been practicing medicine for over 49 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Torticollis. He is also highly rated in 40 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Parkinson's Disease, Drug Induced Dyskinesia, Benign Essential Blepharospasm, and Torticollis. He is board certified in Neurology and licensed to treat patients in Texas. Dr. Jankovic is currently accepting new patients.

Elite
Highly rated in
23
conditions
Neurology

University Neurologists

Chicago, IL 

Cynthia Comella is a Neurologist in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Comella has been practicing medicine for over 42 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Torticollis. She is also highly rated in 23 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Torticollis, Focal Dystonia, Drug Induced Dyskinesia, and Parkinson's Disease. She is licensed to treat patients in Illinois.

 
 
 
 
Learn about our expert tiers
Learn more
Elite
Highly rated in
16
conditions
Neurology

UH Cleveland Medical Center

Cleveland, OH 

Aasef Shaikh is a Neurologist in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Shaikh has been practicing medicine for over 22 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Torticollis. He is also highly rated in 16 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Torticollis, Focal Dystonia, Drug Induced Dyskinesia, and Brown Syndrome. He is board certified in Neurology and licensed to treat patients in Ohio. Dr. Shaikh is currently accepting new patients.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Torticollis?

The condition may be easier to treat in infants and children. If torticollis becomes chronic, numbness and tingling may develop due to pressure on the nerve roots in the neck.

What are the possible complications of Torticollis?

Complications in children may include:

  • Flat head syndrome
  • Deformity of the face due to lack of sternomastoid muscle movement

Complications in adults may include:

  • Muscle swelling due to constant tension
  • Nervous system symptoms due to pressure on nerve roots
When should I contact a medical professional for Torticollis?

Call for an appointment with your provider if symptoms do not improve with treatment, or if new symptoms develop.

Torticollis that occurs after an injury or with illness may be serious. Seek medical help right away if this occurs.

How do I prevent Torticollis?

While there is no known way to prevent this condition, early treatment may prevent it from getting worse.

Torticollis (wry neck)
What are the latest Torticollis Clinical Trials?
Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial - Attention and Reading Trial (CITT-ART)
Match to trials
Find the right clinical trials for you in under a minute
Get started
High-Dose Immunosuppressive Therapy Using Carmustine, Etoposide, Cytarabine, and Melphalan (BEAM) + Thymoglobulin Followed by Syngeneic or Autologous Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation for Patients With Autoimmune Neurologic Diseases
What are the Latest Advances for Torticollis?
The Effect of Low Dose OnabotulinumtoxinA on Cervical Dystonia in Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
Low-Dose Neubotulinum Toxin A versus Low-Dose Abobotulinum Toxin A Injection for the Treatment of Cervical Dystonia: A Multicenter, 48-Week, Prospective, Double-Blinded, Randomized Crossover Design Study.
Tired of the same old research?
Check Latest Advances
Enoxaparin-induced Wunderlich syndrome in a young patient with anti-GAD 65-associated opsoclonus and limbic encephalitis: a rare complication in a rare disease.
What are our references for Torticollis?

Marcdante KJ, Kleigman RM. Spine. In: Marcdante KJ, Kleigman RM, eds. Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 202.

White KK, Bouchard M, Goldberg MJ. Common neonatal orthopedic conditions. In: Gleason CA, Juul SE, eds. Avery's Diseases of the Newborn. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 101.