Orthopedic Treatment For Twisted Neck

Twisting of the neck to one side is medically referred to as Torticollis or wry neck. It is a common condition that occurs when the muscles that hold the neck and aid in its movement are affected. The symptoms may ease out naturally over a few days while it may require longer duration and medical treatment in severe cases. Twisted Neck is a commonly reported cause of pain in young people, although it may affect anybody irrespective of age or gender. The person may not necessarily have a past history of neck injury or pain.

Causes

  • Acute Torticollis – It occurs when a ligament or muscle in the neck or shoulder is irritated or sprained
  • Carrying heavy bags or load on the shoulder or in one hand
  • Working long on the computer without maintaining a correct posture or eye view
  • Exposure of the neck muscles to the cold
  • Ear infection
  • Not having adequate support under the head and neck while sleeping
  • Cervical Dystonia- muscle spasms in the neck that occur in people above the age of 40 years. It leads to abnormal head and neck movements including Torticollis
  • Sometimes upper throat infections can affect the lymph nodes that may lead to stiff neck and muscle spasms
  • Cervical or head injury
  • Damage to the blood vessels that flow through the neck
  • Could be a side effect of some medications
  • Congenital Defects- the head of the fetus may be wrongly positioned in the womb causing wry neck

Symptoms

  • Pain on one side of the neck
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Difficulty in turning the neck to the other side
  • Inability to keep the neck straight
  • The muscles on the affected side feel tender or swollen when touched
  • The pain may radiate into the shoulders and upper back
  • Tingling sensation in the neck
  • The head and the chin may tilt in opposite directions
  • Muscle spasms

Diagnosis

  • Analysis of the symptoms and detailed examination of the neck
  • X-ray and other tests may be suggested in case the doctor suspects a serious underlying cause for the existing condition
  • EMG (electromyogram) test may be conducted to locate the affected muscles

Treatment

The symptoms of a twisted neck tend to improve naturally within 24-48 hours. In case they persist longer, the following treatment options may be employed.

  • Some gentle neck exercises may promote movement and flexibility. These may reduce the stiffness
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines and muscle relaxants may be prescribed
  • If the pain is severe in the initial phase, resting the neck for a day or two may be required.
  • Driving should be avoided
  • Some patients may find relief by use of heat pads
  • Gentle traction may be applied
  • Maintain a good posture at work and while standing, sitting or walking
  • Use a firm pillow while sleeping
  • In case of Cervical Dystonia, some medicines may be injected into the neck to paralyze the muscles and stop pain/ spasms
  • Surgery may be recommended if the condition becomes chronic. The procedure aims at lengthening muscles, cutting nerves (to interrupt signals) and fusing some vertebrae in the neck.

The spine specialists at OrthoTexas offer comprehensive treatment for twisted neck and other conditions of the cervical spine. For appointment with orthopedic doctors in Plano, TX, call at (972) 985-1072.

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