Torticollis

Alternative Names

Wry neck; Loxia

Definition of Torticollis

Torticollis is a twisted neck in which the head is tipped to one side, while the chin is turned to the other.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Torticollis may be:

Signs and tests

Various 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. In more severe cases, the entire head pulls and turns to one side

Treatment

Treatment of congenital torticollis involves stretching the shortened neck muscle. Passive stretching and positioning are treatments used in infants and small children. Such treatments are often successful, especially if started within 3 months of birth.

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.

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 6/1/2010

Torticollis (wry neck)

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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