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Torticollis Causes & Risks


The causes are not well understood. Researchers are investigating genetic, environmental, or other underlying mechanisms that may play a role.

Causes may include:

  • Genetic defect
  • Infant's position during pregnancy or delivery
  • Head or neck injury
  • Damage or malfunction of the nervous system, specifically the basal ganglia, which is a deep brain structure
  • Inner ear or eye problems
  • Deformities of the bones or muscles in the neck
  • Tumors of the head or neck
  • Arthritis of the neck
  • Gastroesophageal reflux in infants (passage of acid from the stomach into the throat)
  • Use of certain medications, including:
    • Phenothiazines
    • Butyrophenones

Risk Factors

These factors increase your chance of developing this condition. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:

  • Sex: female
  • Age: newborn and children under age 10
  • Age: adults aged 30 to 60 years
  • Family member with torticollis or similar disorders

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2020 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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