Torticollis (wryneck) exhibit flexion, extension, or twisting of muscles of the neck beyond their normal position. In torticollis, the neck tends to twist to one side, causing head tilt. The condition can either develop slowly if you have a family history of the disorder, or acutely from trauma, or as an adverse reaction to medications. Torticollis may develop in childhood or adulthood.
In adults, acute torticollis can be caused by many different conditions; occasionally, no condition is found as a cause.
Trauma to the neck or spine can lead to torticollis. Injuries to the cervical spine or neck muscles often result in spasm of the muscles, leading to the twisting of the head, characteristic of torticollis.
Other causes include infection of the head or neck. These infections can cause an inflammatory torticollis secondary to inflamed glands and lymph nodes in the neck. Rarely, tumors, scar tissue, arthritis of the cervical spine, or vascular abnormalities may also cause torticollis.
Certain drugs of abus can cause acute dystonia (a lack of normal muscle control). This is a condition that involves the sudden onset of involuntary contractions of the muscles of the face, neck, or back.
In addition to the causes above, children, infants, and newborns may also acquire torticollis from congenital causes or trauma due to childbirth, it can appear temporary or fixed (permanent). Congenital muscular torticollis is the most common cause of torticollis in infants.
Risk factors for torticollis include a family history of the disorder, congenital abnormalities of the cervical spine, taking drugs that predispose to muscular spasm, and trauma.
Because spasmodic torticollis is an abnormal contraction of the muscle in one side of the neck, people will appear with their head turned to one side. Neck muscles and those between the neck and shoulder will be tense and tender. People with acute torticollis will be unwilling to turn their head to one side or may have their head turned slightly away from the side of discomfort.
Other symptoms may include shoulder pain, back pain, headache, neck cramps, muscle tightness, or burning sensations
For children, different types of torticollis may have different symptoms:
The faces of some children with fixed torticollis may look unbalanced or flattened (plagiocephaly). Children may also have mild delays in developing the ability to use their muscles (motor skills).
- Along with a twisted neck, children with Klippel-Feil syndrome may have other problems, such as trouble hearing.