An acute and painful spasm of the neck muscles, usually only on the one side.
Acquired torticollis: Normally occurs after a specific incident, e.g.: sleeping awkwardly on a pillow, sitting for prolonged periods with the head not in the neutral position, pulling a sweater over the head, or any sudden movement. Trauma, such as motor vehicle accidents or roller coaster rides may also trigger torticollis.
Sharp stabbing pain in the one side of the back of the neck especially when turning to the affected side or dropping the head back or forwards. Pain is minimized by tilting the head away from the painful side. Pain usually radiates into the base of the neck and “shoulder” and may even travel down the inside edge of the shoulder blade. In severe cases, pins and needles / numbness are experienced into the arms and headache may occur. The presence of this condition may indicate structural damage to the neck, such as those that follow whiplash accidents.
Primarily gentle massage combined with stretching and gentle neck and upper back adjustment. Sometimes the spasm has to subside somewhat before adjustment can be performed.
Exercises and homework
Stretches, heat, avoid excessive vibration and sudden movements, change pillow, ergonomic advice.
Initially after a chiropractic treatment you may feel significantly better only for the pain to return in a few hours. At first, there will be little decrease in pain but you will notice more movement in the neck. Usually by the following morning (especially if you have done the heat, stretch and massage) you will feel a definite decrease in pain and increase in amount of neck movement. This pain will continue to lift and the movement gets better over the next few days provided you stick to your treatment plan and do the prescribed homework. Torticollis can be a difficult condition to treat as the neck is used in just about every daily activity. On average, four to six treatments are required to completely resolve the problem and prevent a relapse.
If you are unsure about any aspect of your condition or treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr Michael Rees DC at First Chiropractic.