Torticollis manifests itself by pain in the neck. In babies, torticollis can have several causes such as a difficult delivery that may have required the use of forceps, or a congenital abnormality such as plagiocephaly. In adults, the causes of torticollis are also numerous: an uncomfortable working position when working at a desk, bad posture during sleep and even a cold draft. There are also other lesser known causes such as hyperthyroidism, an infection of the nervous system or a tumour in the neck.
In general, torticollis is characterized by a painful contraction accompanied by stiffness of the neck muscles. The pain is more intense when the head is moving. A torticollis leads to a shortening or excessive contraction of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which curtails its range of motion in both rotation and lateral bending. The head is then usually tilted on one side.
In babies, wry neck is recognizable by the position of the head which is constantly titled towards the same and only side. Indeed, plagiocephaly results in the shortening of certain muscles. Moreover, the baby tends to use only a single arm that corresponds to the side towards which the head is tilting.
To alleviate a stiff neck, follow a treatment that combines Rhus toxicodendron 9 CH with Actaea racemosa 9 CH and Lachnantes 5 CH. The recommended dosage consists of 3 granules of each remedy, of which three daily intakes are required. Sometimes the pain is intense or becomes unbearable. It is then necessary to swallow 3 granules of Arnica 15 CH in the morning and evening to relieve these symptoms. During the day, alternating between Lachnantes 5 CH and Bryonia 9 CH is also effective for relieving joint pain in the neck. When torticollis is aggravated by the cold, taking 5 granules of Dulcamara 5 CH four times a day helps to alleviate the symptoms.
To treat spasmodic torticollis, the affected person will need to take three daily intakes of Natrum muraticum 9 CH. It is possible to relieve a stiff neck with hourly intakes of Bryonia 4 or 5 CH to remove pain that is accompanied by dizzy spells upon awakening. Furthermore, a humid environment is an aggravating factor of torticollis. In this case, it is advisable to take hourly intakes of Dulcamara 4 to 7 CH to prevent getting a sore throat or tonsillitis.
Sometimes, the spasms can spread to the facial muscles and along the spine. These symptoms can be alleviated by hourly intakes of Magnesia phosphorica 9 to 15 CH. Painful muscle stiffness can also be relieved by applying essential oil containing eucalyptus (8 ml), peppermint (1 ml) and wintergreen (1 ml) on the neck 6 times a day. The addition of laurel (3 ml) enhances the treatment’s effectiveness.
In regard to children, one must immediately seek medical attention from the onset of the first symptoms, especially if he or she has a cold. An adult must consult a doctor when the treatment has no positive effect after a week has gone by, or if torticollis is recurrent. Other symptoms such as fever, insomnia, widespread pain in the arm and ringing in the ears should prompt the affected person to seek further medical attention.
Good to know: Intakes of Actea racemosa, used in combination with Belladonna, help to relieve muscular stiffness that is accompanied heat sensations in the neck due to bad posture. Furthermore, torticollis caused by a humid cold draft can be alleviated by intakes of Rhus toxicodendron combined with Aconite.