Torticollis is a contraction of the neck muscles. This anomaly in the position of the head and neck mainly affects women. The person is subjected to inconvenience due to pain, and has some difficulty in moving the neck.


To better understand torticollis, we must remember that the vertebrae and muscles surrounding the organs are essential for moving the head. This condition mainly affects the sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscles and occurs during poor posture, caused by muscle retraction and overwork, causing the head to rotate to the opposite side of the contraction.

Torticollis most often appears as a result of prolonged holding of the neck in one position or poor posture of the head at night. It is often due to using an inappropriate pillow. Painters, people who are at a computer most of the time and those who regularly use devices such as microscopes are part of the population most affected by this disease.

The sudden and immoderate movements also cause muscle spasms. It is essentially contact sports like football and boxing that are the most worrying.

Diseases of the nerves and cervical vertebrae, hyperthyroidism, if not treated, can cause torticollis. Likewise, various infections such as the flu or other conditions that cause swollen cervical lymph nodes can cause the muscles to contract. Repeated trauma, disc herniation , some tumors and certain medications are factors that also favor the appearance of torticollis.

In rare cases, torticollis is qualified as congenital. It is due to poor posture during the intrauterine life of the patient. Sometimes a difficult birth causes bleeding from the large muscles in the neck. Certain congenital diseases such as hypotonia and cerebral palsy can also cause torticollis.

Other factors, such as stress, obesity and the habit of maintaining an inadequate posture favor torticollis. You should also remember that smoking accelerates the degeneration of the cervical vertebrae. In addition, spinal injuries such as scoliosis or lordosis and disorders linked to the wisdom tooth aggravate these risks.


The most common signs are the feeling of contraction on one side of the neck and the vicious position of the head. Any attempt to mobilize is impossible and painful. The pain can radiate to the back. Other symptoms vary depending on the type of torticollis. Torticollis usually surprises a person in the morning upon waking up. This occurs due to sudden movement or poor positioning during the night.

We speak of spasmodic torticollis when it appears suddenly, without apparent cause, by successive violent muscle contractions. They are associated with neck pain and stiffness. The head tilts laterally to the side of the muscle spasm and then turns away from the contraction.

For symptomatic torticollis, it is a telltale sign of an underlying disease. In fact, it accompanies specific manifestations of a condition such as the vertebrae.

As for congenital torticollis, it appears from birth. The pain is also chronic. On palpation, the muscle in spasm may have a small swelling about the size of an olive.


Usually, the doctor diagnoses, identifying its specific signs. After some preliminary questions, he examines the patient to detect diseases or factors that may have caused the torticollis.

In the most delicate case, the health professional will prescribe radiological, blood and other tests. Otherwise, he advises to consult a specialist like a rheumatologist or an osteopath for proper and effective treatment.


Torticollis is usually benign. However, it can cause insomnia problem. Furthermore, if left untreated, complications such as permanent spinal anomaly and disc herniation may arise. It disrupts the proper functioning of the nervous system causing headaches, breathing, visual or hearing problems.


Treatment of the possible cause is essential, and troublesome symptoms must be eliminated. For acute torticollis, relax and place a warm pad over the painful area. Your doctor may advise you to take medications that relieve pain and relax your neck.

The therapy of chronic cases may also require more specialized techniques and remedies, but we must respect the doses prescribed by the doctor.

Physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture have also proved useful in solving this problem. Depending on the circumstances, some people need an operation. In some cases, insertion of a neck brace helps support your head.

Herbal medicine

Many researches have proven the effectiveness of rosemary. Just boil 50 grams in a liter of water. Let it settle and then dip the gauze or cloth in the decoction and apply it over the painful area. It should be noted that, choosing a plant requires the advice of a health professional.

Read: Rosemary poultice

Good advices

See a doctor if:

– The torticollis is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, rhinitis and weakness of the arms and legs;

– The pain prevents you from sleeping or stays longer than 48 hours.

Below tips are available to treat torticollis:

– Rest and wear a high collar to protect against the cold;

– Avoid sleeping on a mattress that is too flexible and use an adaptable pillow;

– Put the manipulation of your neck in experts you trust;

– Consult a doctor to confirm the diagnosis and ensure your cure.

For prevention:

– Put yourself in a comfortable and adapted position during sleep;

– Regularly relax and stretch your body;

– Warm up before starting a sport or activity that involves the neck.

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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