Torticollis, also known as wryneck, is a twisting of the neck that causes the head to rotate and tilt at an odd angle.
The exact cause of torticollis is unknown.
Congenital muscular torticollis is more likely to occur in firstborn children. This may also be accompanied by a congenital hip dislocation. The cause is likely from intrauterine positioning resulting in injury to the neck muscles.
Acquired torticollis may be caused by irritation to the cervical ligaments from a viral infection, trauma, or vigorous movement. Additional causes may include:
Sleeping in an awkward position
Neck muscle injury at birth
Any injury that causes heavy scarring and skin shrinkage
Neck muscle spasm
Secondary causes may include:
Slipped facets (two small joints on the side of the spine)
Viral or bacterial infection
The following are the most common symptoms of torticollis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Neck muscle pain or pain down the spine
Inability to turn the head, usually holding it twisted to one side
Spasm of the neck muscles
Awkward position of the chin
The symptoms of torticollis may resemble other conditions and medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis of torticollis usually is confirmed with a medical history and physical examination.
Specific treatment for torticollis will be determined by your physician based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the condition
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include:
The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.
Mass General ensures that our patients receive the highest quality and safest care possible. Learn about our performance, our improvement goals and how we compare to other institutions.