Can’t turn your head? You may have ‘torticollis’! Here is what you need to know to get relief fast.

Can not turn your head

Bugger! You’ve woken up with a stiff and painful neck. Who would have thought that sleeping was so dangerous?!

If your head is twisted to one side, you may have torticollis.

What is Torticollis?

Wry neck, or torticollis, is a painfully twisted and tilted neck. The top of the head generally tilts to one side while the chin tilts to the other side.

This condition can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (the sleeping type). It can also be the result of damage to the neck muscles or blood supply.

Chronic wry neck can cause debilitating pain and difficulty performing daily tasks. Treatment is most successful if it’s started early. This is especially true for children.

Torticollis is the most common cause of neck pain in young people and it’s not generally associated with a previous neck injury or neck pain.

What causes Torticollis?

There are many different types of Torticollis, therefore varied reasons. Here we are referring to acute muscular torticollis.

Anyone can develop torticollis after a muscle or nervous system injury.

Your Torticollis may be triggered by:

  • sitting or sleeping awkwardly, without sufficient support for your head
  • poor posture, such as at a workstation that is not ergonomically suited to you
  • carrying heavy bags
  • exposing your neck to the cold
  • irritation to the brainstem

What are the symptoms of Torticollis?

  • an inability to move your head normally
  • neck pain or stiffness
  • headache
  • having one shoulder higher than the other
  • swollen neck muscles
  • a tilting of your chin to one side

Torticollis usually causes pain on one side of your neck but you may feel pain in the middle of the neck and in the shoulders and head.

Symptoms will usually disappear completely within 1-4 weeks, however it is likely that it will reoccur unless the underlying dysfunction in the spine is not corrected.

What are the treatments for Torticollis?

  • applying heat or ice
  • chiropractic adjustments
  • soft tissue therapy
  • traction
  • stretching exercises
  • neck braces
  • magnesium supplementation
  • muscle relaxants

You should seek help from a health professional if:

  • you want to reduce the duration of the pain
  • you have experienced multiple episodes of torticollis
  • the pain is progressing
  • you have numbness, tingling or pins and needles in your arms or legs
  • you start having difficulties with your bladder or bowel and/or have a fever

Therefore, don’t put up with that pain in the neck!

You should be able to turn your head to reverse your car without using your mirrors. You should be able to sleep and wake up feeling great! That, we believe, is your birth right.

Give us a shout if you feel like you could do with some help.

Yours in great health,

Dr Andy & Dr Jacinta

Andy and Jacinta