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Spasmodic Torticollis


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.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • Muscle relaxers decrease pain and muscle spasms.
  • Botulinum toxin injections may also be given to relax your muscles.
  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever.
  • Pain medicine may be given to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.


  • Cervical spine x-rays may be done to check for broken bones or other problems in your neck.
  • A CT scan or MRI may be used to look for problems in your bones, muscles, brain, and blood vessels. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • Electromyography (EMG) is done to test your muscles and the nerves that control them. Electrodes (wires) are placed on the area of muscle being tested. Needles that enter your skin may be attached to the electrodes. The electrical activity of your muscles and nerves is measured by a machine attached to the electrodes. Your muscles are tested at rest and with activity.


  • A cervical collar may be needed to support your neck.
  • Surgery may be needed if other treatments fail. The nerves that supply the affected muscles may be cut. Sometimes the muscles of the neck may be cut or separated.


Botulinum toxin treatment may cause hoarseness or voice changes, dizziness, weakness, and difficulty swallowing. Injection of medicines may cause bleeding or damage to organs. Botulinum toxin may need to be done many times and may have a decreased effect over time. You may bleed more than expected or get an infection with surgery. Without treatment, severe spasmodic torticollis may cause other health problems. Your muscles may shorten, stiffen, and lose their ability to move.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

Learn more about Spasmodic Torticollis (Inpatient Care)

IBM Watson Micromedex

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.