Treatments for torticollis are different, depending on the cause of the condition.
- Congenital torticollis:
o Physical therapy. Babies with congenital torticollis may find symptom relief from stretching exercises that a doctor or physical therapist can show parents how to perform at home. The exercises are intended to stretch out the tight neck muscle so that the head rests in a neutral position rather than at an angle. “Tummy time”—putting a baby on their stomach to strengthen the neck muscles—can also help. Parents will also learn how to minimize the risk of flat head syndrome, which can occur when a baby frequently lies down with their head turned in the same direction. Additionally, some babies might benefit from physical therapy or from wearing a collar (during waking hours) that keeps the head and neck in a neutral position.
o Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections. If physical therapy and stretching aren’t effective treatments, some babies can receive Botulinum toxin injections, which can relax the tight neck muscle and resolve the problem.
o Surgery. In less than 10% of cases, surgery is needed to help lengthen the tight neck muscle or correct a vertebral problem. This surgery usually occurs when the child is 6 years old.
- Acquired torticollis. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and a neck collar can help to treat the condition. In some cases, children will also benefit from a muscle relaxant.
- Cervical dystonia. Several treatment options can be used to help adults with cervical dystonia:
o Physical therapy
o A neck collar
o Heat therapy
o Neck traction
o Treating an underlying illness or injury that caused torticollis
o Deep brain stimulation
o Surgery, if other treatments aren’t helpful
Doctors may prescribe medication to relieve pain or muscle spasms, including:
o Benzodiazepines, a class of anti-anxiety medication
o Muscle relaxants
o Cholesterol-lowering medication
Botulinum toxin injection