Torticollis is a prolonged contraction of the neck muscles that causes pain and inability to move the head. It can develop in both children (known as congenital torticollis) and in adults.
The muscle particularly affected in the torticollis is the sternocleidomastoid, and its spasm makes the head tilt on one side and the chin on the opposite side.
Muscle pain is localized in the neck but can go up to the head or down to the shoulder or back.
Causes of Torticollis
The two main causes of torticollis are either an irritation of the nerves that control the muscles of the neck, or an inflammation of the muscles themselves caused by different reasons:
- Sleeping in a position that forces the neck
- Inadequate pillow
- Cold air flow
- Abrupt neck movements
- Traumatic injury or whiplash
- Compression of the spinal nerve
- Stress, anxiety ...
All jobs that require a long time in the same position can cause torticollis, for example, being in front of a computer, especially in stressful conditions.
To prevent it, rest for a few minutes during work and use them for neck exercises: turn your head from side to side and top to bottom slowly without forcing and always with the help of breathing.
It is important to especially care for the posture when sitting at the computer and never hold the phone between the shoulder and the ear, as the neck is forced.
At home try to have a firm mattress and use a suitable pillow, neither too low nor too high. Also, avoid sleeping on your stomach.
How to treat torticollis?
In order to promote muscular relaxation, rest and local heat are highly recommended.
Osteopathy is also very effective. The treatment performed by the osteopath is based on determining the cause of muscle spasm and acting on it with stretching and myofascial release techniques.
On the other hand, there are some natural anti-inflammatory remedies, such as the use of infused plants such as chamomile, alfalfa, eucalyptus and ginger, which, among others, help to calm the pain.
Another solution could be to massage the affected area with oils that have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, such as lavender or arnica.