Torticollis – Neck pain

What is it?

Torticollis is commonly known as wry neck, it is when the muscle of the neck spasm and cause the head to twist to one side. It most commonly occurs in the SCM muscle, which run down the outside of the neck from under the ear to the collar bone and sternum. It is common in the younger population and isn’t associated with an injury. However it can be incredibly painful and debilitating. 

What are the symptoms?

Generally it causes pain on one side of the neck, but may also cause pain in the head and shoulders. It will be very painful to touch the muscle, and can often spasm when massaged. It will also make it difficult to turn your head to the opposite side. 

How long will torticollis last?

Torticollis generally resolves within a week and pain will ease considerably within a couple of days. It is uncommon for symptoms to last longer than the week. 

What causes torticollis?

What causes torticollis?

Babies can be born with torticollis, particularly if they had a traumatic birth or if there is an abnormality of their spine. In children it is more common after a minor sporting injury or inflammation/ infection. 

In adult’s torticollis can be caused by sleeping awkwardly, poor office ergonomics, carrying uneven weights like a heavy hand bag or when there is inflammation or infection.


When it initially happens, whilst painful there is no need for concern. Here are some things you can do to help alleviate the pain. A specific chiropractic adjustments which can include specific muscle release techniques. Rest, anti-inflammatories and alternating heat and ice.

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