Dr. Ayush PandeyMBBS,PG Diploma

January 12, 2019

March 06, 2020


What is Torticollis?

Torticollis is a condition in which the muscles of the neck contract to make the head turn or rotate to one side continuously. When the symptoms appear suddenly, it is called acute torticollis.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

The symptoms of torticollis are as follows:

  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Inability to rotate the neck to the other side
  • Head tremor
  • Intense or sharp pain while trying to turn the head to the unaffected side
  • Swelling in the neck muscles
  • Headache

What are the main causes?

The following can cause torticollis:

  • Sleeping in the wrong posture
  • Carrying heavy weights on one shoulder
  • Exposing the neck muscles to cold

Chronic torticollis may be caused due to:

  • Genetic conditions
  • Problems in the spine or the nervous system
  • Injury to the neck
  • Problems with blood supply to the neck muscles

How is it diagnosed and treated?

A physical exam is usually conducted by the doctor to diagnose torticollis. The doctor may ask you to rotate the head, lean forward or backwards, and stretch the neck.

The doctor may also conduct tests such as:

  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Blood tests (to detect the presence of other disease which may be causing the symptoms)

If torticollis is present since birth, then surgically stretching the shortened neck muscles and positioning them properly may be done.

Acute torticollis can be treated with the help of:

  • Applying heat
  • Stretching exercises
  • Using a neck brace for support
  • Using pain relief medication
  • Surgery (in case of spinal injury)

The symptoms of acute torticollis go away on their own with a little bit of home treatment and pain relief medication. However, if the pain is getting worse, one must visit the doctor immediately.

Preventive measures such as doing stretching exercises and maintaining a good posture will also be recommended in order to prevent future episodes.


  1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Torticollis.
  2. Healthdirect Australia. Torticollis. Australian government: Department of Health
  3. Agency of Health Care Administration. Torticollis. Florida [Internet]
  4. Healthdirect Australia. Torticollis treatments. Australian government: Department of Health
  5. Kumar Nilesh,Srijon Mukherji. Congenital muscular torticollis. Ann Maxillofac Surg. 2013 Jul-Dec; 3(2): 198–200. PMID: 24205484
  6. Herman MJ. Torticollis in infants and children: common and unusual causes. Instr Course Lect. 2006;55:647-53. PMID: 16958498

Medicines for Torticollis

Medicines listed below are available for Torticollis. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

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