Torticollis is one of the most painful and scary conditions affecting the cervical (neck) region of the spine. This is an acute spasm of the neck muscles that forces the head to rotate and the chin to come down toward the chest and the neck gets locked this way. Any attempted movement can cause sharp stabbing and radiating pain.
There are several possible causes of torticolis. The most likely is a subluxation or locked up vertabrae in the upper neck (C1-C2) causing rotational fixation and a pinched nerve. Other suspected culprits include hypertension or high blood pressure, trauma, or a visit to the dentist. 30% of the cases are of unknown or idiopathic origin. Bruxism or tooth grinding as well as a recent sinus infection could be involved. Under all circumstances the muscles in the neck spasm and contract and movement becomes impossible.
Torticollis is diagnosed by a series of orthopedic and neurological tests primarily to rule out more serious conditions such as infection. A long time chiropractor has no difficulty with this diagnosis. Just the head lock in a rotated and flexed position tells us we are dealing with torticollis.
Treatment goals include reduction of muscle spasm, pain relief, restoring full range of motion and able to perform all routine activities. Chiropractic treatment is really the only effective treatment for this condition. Massage and slow moderate stretching are done to elongate and mobilize the restricted tissue. Ultrasound and ice are applied to reduce the inflammation and swelling that are always present. Other treatments that may be done include trigger point therapy, interferential or electrical muscle stimulation as well as transverse friction massage. All of which can be performed at New Life Chiropractic of Virginia Beach.
Home exercises and stretching are prescribed to reduce the chance of recurrence. Light stretching of the neck muscles, easy isometric exercises and relaxation techniques are taught to our patients. Don’t suffer through a bout of torticollis. All the pain relievers and muscle relaxers in the world will have very little affect. Call New Life Chiropractic and we will get you in for a same day appointment. 757-222-0910