What is torticollis?
Torticollisis a disabling condition, in which the muscles located around the neck have an involuntary contraction, causing the patient to suffer a tilt of the head towards the painful side of either shoulder, causing mobility problems in the head andneck. (1)
To diagnose this condition, the doctor will instruct youto do an examination or radiological tests to make a differential diagnosisand rule out other pathologies with similar symptoms such asSprengel deformity,Klippel-Feil syndrome, cervical myelodysplasia and atlantooccipital fusion.
Note: In torticollis, several neck muscles may be affected, among which are the sternocleidomastoid muscle, trapezius and to a lesser extent the scalene muscles.
What causes torticollis?
The causes that can give rise to torticollis are very varied, depending on both physiological and psychological factors, which we mention below:
1. Disorders of the spine and muscles
One of the reasons for torticollis are disorders that occur in the spine such as herniated discs in the cervical area, scoliosis, as well as degenerative pathologies such as cervicoarthrosis.
In the same way, muscular disorders in the cervical, neck and shoulder area such as cramps, tendonitis, strains (exaggerated stretching) or muscle weakness Can lead to Torticollis.(two)
2. Poor posture and sudden movements
One of the very common examples of this condition Ispoor posture when sitting or lying down, since the muscles near the upper part of the back adopt a dysergonomic position that causes tension , contracture and the consequent torticollis.
Also sudden involuntary and sudden movements of the head or neck Can cause muscle strain , causing muscle stress and the appearance of torticollis. (3)
To highlight: Torticollis that arises from sudden movements or associated with a disease, can be serious, so it is advisable to visit a specialist doctor.
3. Stress and tiredness
caused by daily stress, poor diet and lack of restful rest at night, can cause exaggerated tension in the muscles surrounding the neck, giving rise to the appearance of torticollis.
Also the repetitive movements in daily work, as well as the rigidity in the position adopted in the head and neck to perform certain tasks, can cause stress and muscle tension, giving rise to torticollis.
You should know: In most cases, the patient with torticollis Cervical Reportspain (area behind the neck), as a focal point of reference.
4. Genetic factors
From birth, malformations of the of the musculoskeletal structure can occur, such as the case of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which cause deformities in the human body, giving rise to torticollis. (4)
In fact , in children, this type of condition is called Congenital torticollis and it occurs very frequently in newborns, which disappears spontaneously or with medical intervention. (5)
What to do in case of torticollis?
To relieve the discomfort caused by torticollis, there are very useful therapeutic strategies, which we discuss below:
1. Muscle relaxant drugs
To treat muscle strains and contractures that cause torticollis, A specialist doctor can prescribe medications that work by relaxing the affected muscles, reducing muscle tension in the area and improving the sensation of pain and inflammation.
In this regard , medications such as diclofenac potassium, thiocolchicoside alone or in combination with other analgesic medications such as ibuprofen are used with a prescription , but as mentioned, with the corresponding medical supervision.
2. Physiotherapy and massages
Another technique to improve the mobility and relaxation of the affected muscles is the intervention of physiotherapy, in order to achieve mobility of the structures located around the neck. (6)
In the same physiotherapy session, the therapist can massage the area to increase blood circulation and Achieve a natural analgesic effect on the body.
3. Stretching exercises
A preventive strategy, especially in intense sports activities, is to perform muscle stretching exercises before starting each physical activity, to prepare the muscles for the demand required, including the muscles that surround the neck. (7)
Note: These stretching exercisesmust be performed consciouslyand directed by a professional in physical education, in the case of people who start in sports activity.
4. Use of collar
The use of the cervical collar is indicated to immobilize the muscles on the one hand and also give them rest and eliminate the tensioncaused by the bad posture that generates torticollis. In addition, the use of this neck bracekeeps the area warm , increasing blood circulation.
In those more complex cases or derived from malformations of the musculoskeletal structure of the neck area that cause torticollis, surgery would be an option to evaluate to correct the cause of this condition.
- Torticollis is a disabling condition in which the muscles around the neck undergo involuntary contraction.
- Torticollis can be of congenital or acquired origin.
- Torticollis causes the patient to tilt their head towards the painful side of either shoulder.
- Torticollis can be treated with the use of therapeutic strategies depending on the characteristics of its origin.