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Torticollis (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

In general, acute torticollis is not life threatening. If symptoms are limited to muscle stiffness and pain, see your doctor in at least a day.

If you injure your neck and have spasm of the muscles, go immediately to a hospital's emergency department. Other medical conditions may appear to be torticollis and will need immediate medical attention. Anyone who experiences spasms of the neck muscles involved with swallowing or breathing or symptoms that might involve the central nervous system should be evaluated.

The following symptoms suggest injury or irritation to the central nervous system and should be treated as an emergency especially if they suddenly develop:

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Pins-and-needles feeling or numbness in your arms and legs
  • Urinary hesitancy, urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Weakness in your arms and legs
  • Impaired speech
  • Difficulty walking
  • If the spasm of the neck muscles is associated with fever, swollen glands, headache, neck stiffness, mouth or tongue swelling, or trouble swallowing, seek medical attention immediately.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/27/2012

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Torticollis »

Torticollis (from the Latin torti, meaning twisted and collis, meaning neck) manifests as involuntary contractions of the neck muscles, leading to abnormal postures and movements of the head.

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