Wry Neck Treatment: Torticollis Symptoms
The following are some of the most common symptoms of torticollis. These symptoms may be caused by other diseases or conditions such as chicken pox, laryngitis, ear infection, etc. However they all have one thing in common – they cause pain when moving your head. They are called “head” pains because if you move your head slowly enough it feels like you’re having a headache.
Headache: Headaches are the most common symptom of torticollis. They usually occur at night when you wake up with a terrible headache. You might feel dizzy, lightheaded, or even faint from these headaches. Sometimes they last for hours and sometimes they only last minutes but they always come on suddenly and then go away after a few seconds. If you don’t get relief within 5 minutes of waking up, you’ll probably need to lie down immediately!
Dizziness: Dizzy spells are another symptom of torticollis. They happen when you try to stand up too quickly. You may feel like you’re going to fall over or you may just not be able to keep your balance. You might even think that something bad happened!
Lightheadedness: Lightheadedness is the second most common symptom of torticollis. You may feel like your blood pressure is low and that you are about to pass out. If you are busy doing something else, then the lightheadedness usually lasts for only a few seconds. But sometimes you can feel like you’re going to pass out even if you’re just sitting down!
Flushes: Flushes are sudden rushes of heat to your face, neck, and chest. You might notice your skin changing color slightly or even turning red! You may feel warm and clammy. If you have this symptom you usually get it just before your headache or dizziness starts.
Numbness: Numbness is a less common symptom of torticollis. Your face, neck, or chest may start to feel numb if you move your head in a certain position. The numbness may cause you to feel like you are unable to talk, swallow, or even breathe.
Wry Neck Massage: What Causes Wry Neck?
Before we talk about the causes of torticollis, it’s important to note that this condition is not dangerous and will probably go away by itself within a few weeks. If it persists or gets worse then you should see your doctor and get it checked out.
The most common cause of torticollis is an injury to one of the nerves in your neck. It usually starts with a very minor injury and then gets progressively worse as the injury aggravates the nerves continuously.
Torticollis can also be caused by a condition called wry neck. In this condition one of the bones in the neck is shorter than the other one causing it to pull on the nerves in a different direction. If not treated, wry neck will also result in torticollis.
Stress: Other possible causes of torticollis include whiplash, overuse of your neck muscles, or even stress. In most cases it’s a combination of these factors that result in this condition.
Treating Wry Neck: What to do?
The most important thing you can do for torticollis is to take steps to avoid making your symptoms any worse! These tips should help you to control the pain and prevent further injury.
Take it easy: The most important thing you can do is to avoid activities or positions that make your symptoms worse! This means you need to rest frequently and avoid bending your neck, tilting your head up or down, or leaning to the side. You should also try to sleep in a position that keeps your neck straight.
Get a brace: A stiff neck brace can help to support your neck and keep it from moving too far in any direction. A brace can make you more comfortable and allow you to do more activities.
Get a haircut: If your hair is very long, then this might be adding to your wry neck. Get a haircut and see if that helps!
Take medicines: Wry neck can cause a buildup of fluid in your spine. A buildup of this nature can cause a great deal of pain and make the symptoms worse. A doctor can let some of this fluid out to relieve the pain and make you more comfortable. Taking medicines like ibuprofen or naproxen can also help to relieve the pain from torticollis.
Seek treatment: If your symptoms are getting worse or don’t start to improve within a few weeks, then you should seek medical help. A doctor can perform certain tests to investigate the cause of your condition and come up with a treatment plan specifically for you.
Other tips: You should also try to avoid any habits or actions that may have led to the onset of your condition. Some of these include:
Sternomastoid muscles: It is a good idea to exercise and stretch the sternomastoids (the muscles underneath your ears that you use to turn your head). This will help them relax a lot, which will in turn reduce the strain on the rest of your neck.
Use a tilt table: If the wry neck is caused by an injury, then you can use a tilt table. This table makes it possible to keep your neck completely still while you’re sitting. Then, very slowly, the table is tilted to the rear, so that your head is no longer pointing downward. This will reduce the pressure on your nerves, which in turn will make you more comfortable.
Surgery: Torticollis can cause several other symptoms apart from the neck pain. These symptoms may require surgical procedures to correct them. Severe nerve injury or damage may need a surgery as well.
1. Sleep in a recliner instead of your bed
The most important thing you can do is to try to get comfortable. If you can sleep sitting up, then do it! Otherwise you might want to consider sleeping in a recliner instead. Both of these solutions will keep your neck from bending or twisting and relieve some of the pressure on your spine and nerves.
2. Use pillows to make yourself more comfortable
You should also use pillows to support the head on the side that is hurting. You can also try elevating the head on that side as well. This can make you more comfortable during the day and help to reduce the pain at night. You want to put the pillow on the side that is NOT hurting, NOT on the side that IS hurting.
3. Sleep with a scarf around your neck
Another good tip is to sleep with a scarf wrapped around your neck. This will keep your chin pointing downward which is a natural position for your neck. It may take some practice to get used to it, but this is one of those things that can really help you reduce the pain and feel more comfortable during the day.
4. Try hot and cold compresses
You can treat the pain by alternating hot and cold compresses on your neck. This helps to give some relief from the pain and also reduces the swelling and inflammation. Use a washcloth that has been soaked in very hot water, or just run hot water onto it from the faucet. Then, wrap it around your neck until it gets cold. Then, repeat the process with a cold compress.
5. Use over-the-counter pain medication
While these won’t do anything to actually heal your condition, they can help you to get some relief by taking the edge off the pain. You can take these in pill or liquid form or even use topical creams. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label of your medication so that you don’t exceed the recommended dosage.
Sources & references used in this article:
New surgical technique for the correction of congenital muscular torticollis (wry neck) by LFA Stassen, CJ Kerawala – British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial …, 2000 – Elsevier
Congenital muscular torticollis (wryneck) by MB Coventry, LE Harris, AJ Bianco Jr… – Postgraduate …, 1960 – Taylor & Francis
Spasmodic torticollis by RM Patterson, SC Little – The Journal of Nervous and Mental …, 1943 – journals.lww.com
Congenital muscular torticollis in infancy: some observations regarding treatment by MB Coventry, LE Harris – JBJS, 1959 – journals.lww.com
Torticollis: an analysis of 271 cases by D Armstrong, K Pickrell, B Fetter… – Plastic and reconstructive …, 1965 – journals.lww.com