Congenital torticollis (present at birth) may occur if the fetus' head is in the wrong position while growing inside the mother, or if the muscles or blood supply to the fetus' neck are injured.
In order to diagnose torticollis, various tests or procedures may be done to rule out possible causes of head and neck pain. A physical examination will show a visible shortening of the neck muscles and the head will tilt toward the affected side while the chin points to the opposite side.
If caught early enough in young childhood or infancy, the condition may not require much treatment to correct. In later life, or if it is acquired torticollis, this chronic condition can cause numbness and tingling as nerve roots become compressed in the neck. Botulinum toxin injections often provide substantial relief.
While there is no known prevention, early treatment is the best known hope for alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with torticollis and possibly correct the condition.
Complications associated with torticollis may include:
Muscle swelling due to constant tension
Neurological symptoms due to compressed nerve roots.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms do not improve with treatment, or if new symptoms develop.
Aimee Boyle is a freelance writer, teacher and mother living in CT. She contributes regularly to EmpowHer in sexuality and muscles.