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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Spasmodic torticollis, also called cervical dystonia, is a condition that causes your neck muscles to contract abnormally. Your neck may twist and cause your head to tilt to one side, forward, or backward. Spasmodic torticollis may occur occasionally or continuously. It often gets worse with stress.
You may need any of the following:
- Muscle relaxers decrease pain and muscle spasms.
- Botulinum toxin injections may also be given to relax your muscles.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Apply ice on your neck for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
- Apply heat on your neck for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms.
- Rest as needed. Return to your daily activities as directed.
- Use cervical collar as directed. A cervical collar may be needed to support your neck.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You have swelling in your neck area that gets worse or does not go away.
- You have an increased feeling of sadness or loneliness, or you feel depressed.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have increased pain in your neck or shoulder.
- You have sudden shortness of breath.
- You have trouble moving your arms or legs.
- Your arms or legs feel numb.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.