Spasmodic Torticollis


Spasmodic Torticollis (Aftercare Instructions) Care Guide

  • Spasmodic (spaz-MOD-ik) torticollis (tor-ti-KOL-is), also called cervical dystonia, is a condition where the neck muscles contract (tighten) abnormally. This contracting causes the neck to twist and the head to tilt to one side, forwards, or backwards. No one knows exactly what causes spasmodic torticollis. This condition may happen after an injury or a trauma. It may also be caused by a disorder affecting a system in the body. The body system may include the muscles and bones, spinal cord, brain, eyes, or the vestibular (balance) system. The risk of having torticollis is higher if it is present in a close family member.

  • Signs and symptoms of spasmodic torticollis may include muscle spasms, jerks, or tremors. You may also have pain in your neck or shoulder. Your neck may be larger than usual or the neck muscles may be unequal. A detailed health history and physical exam are needed to diagnose spasmodic torticollis. Tests, such as computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or x-rays may also be done. Treatment may include surgery and medicines that help decrease the muscle spasms. With treatment and care, symptoms of spasmodic torticollis may be relieved, and your quality of life improved.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.

  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Learn ways to manage stress. Deep breathing, meditation, and listening to music may help you cope with stressful events. Talk to your caregiver about other ways to manage stress.


  • You have a fever.

  • You have swelling in your neck area that is worse or does not go away.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, medicines, or care.


  • You feel confused, or sleepy most of the time.

  • You have increased pain on your neck or shoulder.

  • You have trouble breathing all of a sudden.

  • You have trouble moving your arms or legs.

  • Your arms or legs feel numb, or you cannot feel them.

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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.

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