What is Torticollis (Wry Neck)?

Torticollis is a focal dystonia in the neck, meaning there is an abnormal muscle tone, posture or involuntary muscle contraction movement from a neurological issue. A torticollis or wry neck is the result of an acute spasm to the head and neck muscles resulting in a significant loss of neck movement. There are two types of torticollis, namely congenital and acquired. Congenital torticollis occurs at birth and it could be due to having an abnormal cervical spine structure or experienced trauma during birth. Acquired torticollis could occur from a wide range of causes like simply holding an awkward position during sleep, a muscle spasm compensatory mechanism; or more severe traumas like a fracture. A torticollis may be confused with cervical spine sprain/strain.

The neck classically appears locked in rotation and side tilting. The most common level of the neck to be affected is the upper neck (C2-C3), and both adults and children can suffer from this condition. Trauma, dental work and whiplash appear to be the most significant reasons for a torticollis, however poor posture while sleeping, bruxism (tooth-grinding), temporomandibular dysfunction – (dysfunction of the muscles controlling the jaw), or repetitive neck movements may cause this condition.

Headaches, neck pain and the inability to freely move the neck are all common symptoms of a torticollis. Other symptoms may include neck muscle pain or pain down the spine, inability to turn the head, usually holding it twisted to one side, spasms of the neck muscles and awkward position of the chin.

Here at Precision Health we offer services such as chiropractic care and massage therapy which can aid in your recovery from Torticollis.

Call (02) 9639 7337 or visit our website to book an appointment now!

Kazeminasab, S, Nejadghaderi, SA, Amiri, P, Pourfathi, H, Araj-Khodaei, M, Sullman, MJM, Kolahi, A-A, & Safiri, S, 2022,, ‘Neck pain: global epidemiology, trends and risk factors’, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 26–26, doi: 10.1186/s12891-021-04957-4.

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