Torticollis (Wry Neck)
Torticollis, also known as “wry neck,” is a condition characterized by the head being tilted to one side and rotated to the other. The following are some technical terms used to describe torticollis:
Cervical dystonia: A type of dystonia (a movement disorder) that affects the neck muscles and causes them to contract involuntarily.
Spasmodic torticollis: A type of cervical dystonia characterized by sustained contractions of the neck muscles that cause the head to twist.
Chronic torticollis: A type of torticollis that persists for a long time and is often associated with muscle stiffness and pain.
Acute torticollis: A type of torticollis that occurs suddenly and may resolve within a few days to weeks.
Laterocollis: A type of torticollis in which the head is tilted to one side.
Anterocollis: A type of torticollis in which the head is tilted forward.
Retrocollis: A type of torticollis in which the head is tilted backward.
Cervical musculature contracture: A type of torticollis characterized by sustained contractions of the neck muscles that cause the head to twist.
Torticollis can be caused by a variety of factors, including muscle strain, nerve damage, and certain medical conditions. An accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan can be determined by a healthcare professional after a thorough evaluation.
Causes of Torticollis (Wry Neck)
Torticollis, also known as “wry neck,” can have a variety of causes, including:
Cervical dystonia: A neurological condition that causes the neck muscles to contract involuntarily and cause the head to twist.
Muscle strain: Overuse or injury to the neck muscles, such as from poor posture or a sudden movement, can cause muscle strain and lead to torticollis.
Nerve damage: Damage to the nerves that control the neck muscles can result in torticollis.
Pinched nerve: Compression of a nerve in the neck can cause pain and muscle spasms, leading to torticollis.
Disk herniation: A herniated disk in the neck can compress a nerve and cause pain and muscle spasms.
Neck arthritis: Inflammation of the neck joints can cause pain and muscle stiffness, leading to torticollis.
Infections: Certain infections, such as meningitis or encephalitis, can cause inflammation in the neck and lead to torticollis.
Brainstem or spinal cord tumors: Tumors in the brainstem or spinal cord can affect the nerve pathways that control the neck muscles and cause torticollis.
These are some of the technical terms used to describe the causes of torticollis. It’s important to note that torticollis can have multiple causes, and an accurate diagnosis can be made only after a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional.
Signs and Symptoms of Torticollis (Wry Neck)
Torticollis, also known as “wry neck,” can cause a variety of signs and symptoms, including:
- Tilted head: The head is tilted to one side, often in a forward or backward direction.
- Twisted neck: The head is rotated to one side, away from the tilted position.
- Stiff neck: Limited range of motion and difficulty moving the neck in certain directions.
- Muscle spasms: Uncontrollable contractions of the neck muscles.
- Pain: Aching or tenderness in the neck and surrounding areas.
- Headache: Pain in the head, often accompanied by neck pain and stiffness.
- Dizziness: A feeling of lightheadedness or unsteadiness.
- Balance problems: Difficulty maintaining balance or coordination.
These are some of the technical terms used to describe the signs and symptoms of torticollis. It’s important to note that these symptoms can be caused by a variety of conditions, not just torticollis, so an accurate diagnosis requires a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional.
Treatment for Torticollis (Wry Neck)
Here are some of the physiotherapy interventions that may be used to treat torticollis (wry neck):
Stretching and range of motion exercises: These exercises can help to increase flexibility, reduce pain, and improve range of motion in the neck.
Soft tissue mobilization: This may include massage, trigger point therapy, and other manual therapy techniques to reduce muscle tension and improve mobility.
Strengthening exercises: These exercises can help to improve the stability and strength of the neck muscles, reducing the risk of re-injury.
Postural re-education: A physiotherapist can help you identify and correct any postural habits or activities that may be contributing to your symptoms.
Heat or cold therapy: Alternating hot and cold therapy can help to reduce pain and swelling and improve mobility.
TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation): This involves the use of low-voltage electrical currents to relieve pain and improve muscle strength.
It is important to note that each case of torticollis is unique, and the appropriate physiotherapy intervention will depend on the underlying cause of the condition and the severity of the symptoms. A physiotherapist can help to design a personalized treatment plan based on the individual’s needs and goals.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a therapist about torticollis (wry neck) please call us at 03 9836 1126.
Kim, Y. J., Kim, S. H., Park, H. J., & Jeon, J. H. (2017). The effect of physical therapy on the improvement of range of motion and pain in patients with acute torticollis: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Physical Therapy Science