Torticollis or wry neck is a severe condition that affects the neck muscles. In this condition, the head becomes tilted down slightly on one side, while the chin is tilted on the other.

Most people suffer from this condition right from birth, and it is referred to as congenital torticollis. However, torticollis may also be a result of poor blood supply to neck muscles. It isn’t always necessary to follow a proper treatment for the wry neck because these may sometimes disappear without treatment too. But, the chances of relapse are high too.

Torticollis can make the neck stiff which may hamper daily life. Medications and therapy can help to get over pain and stiffness. But in certain conditions, the patient may need to undergo surgery to ensure the treatment is successful.


Mostly torticollis or wry neck is inherited or genital. A lot of people had developed this condition in the womb itself. The most common cause of torticollis is the wrong position of the child’s head in the womb. As stated earlier, the damage to neck muscles or poor blood flow can also be a leading cause.

Torticollis doesn’t need to be developed right from birth. People of any age can develop torticollis, mostly due to muscle or nerve injury. Nonetheless, the cause for torticollis may often be unknown, which is why it may also be referred to as idiopathic torticollis.


The symptoms of torticollis worsen with time. However, they begin at a prolonged rate, so it is often difficult to detect them. The common symptoms of the wryneck (irrespective of the age) include the following

  • Neck stiffness
  • Headache
  • Inability to move the head
  • Swollen neck muscles
  • Tilting of the head
  • The placement of one shoulder is higher than the other

The children suffering from congenital torticollis will have a flattened and unbalanced appearance. They also have problems with basic motor skill development such as hearing and vision.


Massage and surgery are the best ways of treating torticollis. The doctor may recommend treatment depending on the severity of the condition.

The treatment may include

  • Traction
  • Massage
  • Application of heat around the neck
  • Chiropractic practice
  • Stretching exercises
  • Neck braces

Medications like muscle relaxants and pain-relieving medicines would be useful. Furthermore, surgeries like fusing abnormal vertebrae, cutting nerves and lengthening neck muscles will help treat torticollis.