Tuesday, June 22, 2021

If you have ever woken in the morning with severe pain in the neck and your head is twisted to one side, you have probably experienced Torticollis.

This is the name given to a deformity of the neck in which the head usually tilts toward one shoulder and the chin rotates toward the opposite shoulder.

Torticollis presents itself in several ways, based on age and underlying cause. There is a wide range of severity and outcomes.


The most common form of torticollis seen in chiropractor’s office is Acute Torticollis (also known as wry neck.)

This occurs mostly in older children and young adults. The pain and muscle spasm usually lasts 3-10days. The trigger factor may be some minor trauma such as twisting the neck while drying your hair or jarring the neck while hitting a tennis ball. Often the affected person will wake up with some mild stiffness that increases to sharp pain and torsion in the neck.


This is a more severe form of torticollis and is also known as cervical dystonia.

This typically affects adults between the ages of 30-50 years and is related to nervous system dysfunction at the brain level.

This is a particularly difficult condition to treat and can be associated with chronic pain and muscle tremors.

Spasmodic torticollis can last for very long periods and in some cases is permanent.

Chiropractic care offers relief in most cases, allowing the condition to be managed and pain levels kept at a minimum. In some cases medical co-management may also be required.


Chiropractic adjustments are a key component of chiropractic treatment for torticollis.

By gently manipulating the spine, chiropractors can help realign the cervical vertebrae and relieve pressure on the affected muscles. This can lead to improved neck function, reduced pain, and increased mobility.

Chiropractic care for torticollis is safe and effective for both adults and pediatric patients, offering a natural alternative to medication or surgery.

If you or your child are suffering from torticollis, consider seeking chiropractic care to address the underlying cause and improve your quality of life.


The most common cause of torticollis is congenital muscular torticollis, which occurs when a baby is born with tight or shortened neck muscles on one side of the neck.

This can result in the head being tilted to one side, causing limited neck movement and discomfort. While torticollis may improve on its own over time, chiropractic care can help treat torticollis and provide relief from neck pain.


Congenital means ‘present at birth’.

This form of torticollis is usually the result of birth trauma, commonly seen in breech births or where intervention such as forceps is used.

The muscle at the front and side of the neck (called the SCM) is damaged causing bleeding inside the muscle (haematoma) and shortening of the muscle.

As these babies have often had a traumatic birth, they are more likely to have a congenital hip dislocation. An x-ray of the neck and the hips may be required in some cases.

Treatment is very important for these infants to prevent permanent shortening of the neck muscles involved.

Facial and skull asymmetry is also common and congenital torticollis.


Chiropractic care may involve gentle massages and stretching of the SCM.

Very light finger-tip adjustments to the neck are often useful, as are craniosacral adjustments to balance dural tension (the dura is the sac-like sheath that surrounds the brain and spinal cord). In some cases it may take months for neck posture and movement to return to normal.

While congenital muscular torticollis is the most common cause of torticollis in infants, there are other factors that can contribute to the development of torticollis in adults.

Poor posture, injury, or muscle spasms can all lead to a twisted neck and limited neck movement. It doesn’t take much force to strain the neck muscles and cause torticollis. That's why seeking prompt chiropractic treatment for torticollis is essential to prevent further complications and improve overall neck function.


Your local chiropractor for torticollis is here to help!

Chiropractic care is a non-invasive and holistic approach to treating torticollis.

Chiropractors focus on aligning the cervical spine through gentle chiropractic adjustments tailored to their physical build.

By correcting misalignments in the spine, chiropractors can help improve neck function and reduce pain associated with torticollis.

In addition to chiropractic adjustments, chiropractors may also recommend massage therapy and exercises to help strengthen the neck muscles and improve range of motion.

Home advice will usually involve recommendations for rest, together with gentle mobilising exercises of the neck and shoulders. These should be within the comfortable range of motion. Alternating heat/ice might be useful initially. Often supporting the neck with a scarf or, if needed, a soft cervical collar is helpful.

If you’re experiencing torticollis, consider booking an appointment with us, Centenary Chiropractic Centre, your local chiropractic for Camira and surround areas. Give us a call on 07 3381 0440 or book online here:

Dr. Steve Hodal is committed to providing high-quality, individualized chiropractic care in a comfortable and relaxed environment. He is dedicated to providing evidence-based treatments that are tailored to each patient’s individual needs, allowing them to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. Contact us to know more about this disorder or Book Online.