How to Treat Torticollis

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Muscle spasms in the neck can be indicative of conditions including torticollis.
Muscle spasms in the neck can be indicative of conditions including torticollis.

The medical term "torticollis" derives from the Latin "torta" meaning twisted and "collum" meaning neck. Torticollis pertains to the positioning of the head. The condition has many causes, most commonly muscular problems. Rarely, abuse of certain drugs, bony abnormalities in the spine, vision problems or neurological imbalance can be the cause. Torticollis is generally treated with medications and physical therapy. There is no cure for torticollis, and persistent recurring bouts of torticollis may eventually lead to surgery.

Instructions

    • 1

      Visit your doctor for a diagnosis of your symptoms and to rule out other serious conditions, such as spinal cord and central nervous system injuries. Be sure to give your doctor full details of all medications, prescription and otherwise that you are taking. Tell him about any events or activities that may have caused the onset of the problem.

    • 2

      Undergo x-rays and any other diagnostic tests your doctor deems necessary. A pre-existing condition such as degenerative arthritis of the spine may be the root cause of your current problems. Computerized tomography (CT) scan of the neck can identify the extent of the condition in relation to your current symptoms.

    • 3

      Fill the prescription your doctor issues and take the medications in accordance with the specific dosage instructions. You will likely be prescribed a muscle relaxant, as well as painkillers. Your doctor may also recommend shots of botulinum toxin, commonly known as Botox. The spasms will stop when Botox is injected into the muscle.

    • 4

      Attend appointments for treatments. The main purpose of treatment will be to relax the contracted neck muscles involved. Physical therapy is most commonly prescribed and is generally very successful. You may also be required to wear a neck collar or brace.

    • 5

      Request an appointment with a neurologist if your symptoms persist or keep recurring. Your internist or general physician will want to try medication and physical therapy before referring you to a neurologist.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not self-diagnose and treat yourself. Consult a doctor as soon as you can after the onset of the condition.

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