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Torticollis: What Exactly Is It and Can Anything Help? 

 July 1, 2018

By  Dr. Todd Osborne

torticollis-what-exactly-is-it-and-can-anything-helpYou may have seen someone with the condition torticollis but not known the proper name for it. With torticollis, your head is tipped to one side, making the neck twist, and the chin is turned in the opposite direction. It comes about because of damage to the spine, the muscles, or the nervous system. Sometimes it is inherited or due to changes in genetics. Congenital torticollis starts at birth and may have been caused by a change in the blood supply to the neck or an injury to the muscles. This may be due to the baby’s head being in the wrong position in the womb. It is possible for torticollis to occur in adulthood.

What Is Spasmodic Torticollis?

This condition is extremely painful and it causes the head to jerk back and forth involuntarily. Another word for spasmodic torticollis is cervical dystonia. Contractions in the muscles are to blame. It often occurs because of trauma like a mild concussion or another injury to the head, neck, or back. In infants, it may be that the cord was wrapped around the neck at birth, forceps were used for the birth, or vacuum extraction was used during birth. It can take many weeks or even years for spasmodic torticollis to occur.

Traditional Care for Torticollis

Medical doctors will often investigate by finding what caused torticollis to begin. This is especially true if damage has been done to the spine, nervous system, or muscles. After determining the cause, they generally consider some of the following options:

  • Prescription medications such as anticholinergic drugs like baclofen
  • If the vertebra is dislocated, surgery may be suggested
  • Braces to stabilize the neck and exercises to stretch the neck muscles and reduce spasms
  • Botox injections to offer temporary relief (this requires multiple injections)
  • Applying heat and massage to the cervical spine to help reduce neck pain

Naturally Providing Relief for Torticollis

Upper cervical chiropractors try to reduce the negative impact on the nervous system by correcting any misalignments that may exist in the top part of the neck. The C1 and C2 vertebrae can easily misalign and put the brainstem under stress. Correcting the misalignment can help relieve some of the symptoms of torticollis.

To find an upper cervical specialist in your area go to http://www.NUCCA.org or if you are in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area CALL 423-402-4602 to schedule a consultation

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Dr. Todd Osborne


Dr. Todd Osborne has completed extensive post-graduate education in Activator Methods, and has hundreds of hours in continuing education in Upper Cervical Chiropractic, Neurology, and is a Board Certified Atlas Orthogonist, certified by the Atlas Orthogonal Board and Sherman College of Chiropractic.

Dr. Todd Osborne

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