Upper limbs

The torticolis

by Uperform

The cervical region is made up of 7 vertebrae. Around these, many small muscles come to protect certain vascular and nervous structures. Torticollis will usually affect one or more of these muscles.

1) A bit of anatomy


Most often, it is the sterno-cleido-mastoid which is affected, but it can also affect other muscles, such as the trapezius, the scalenes or the levator scapula.




2) What is torticollis, and what are its mechanisms?


Torticollis generally represents a muscular attack corresponding to a spasm causing pain in the neck, and preventing the person affected from moving the head in one direction and tilting it in the other.

However, it is interesting to note that this type of disorder is more often a consequence of another disorder of the cervical region than a cause in itself.


There are several types of torticollis, from children to adults:

  • Congenital: affecting newborns following a bad position in the uterus
  • Acquired: in children, following for example an upper respiratory infection (syndrome de Grisel)
  • In adults, torticollis represents a reaction of the body to protect itself from another problem, the cause of which is to be determined:
    • Joint disorder (facet) Disc
    • lesion
    • Joint instability
    • Violent whiplash type shock 
    • Hyperlaxity
    • Muscle weakness
    • Infection



3) Is that bad ?


Torticollis is not a serious pathology. Untreated, it generally resolves on its own between 3 and 4 weeks.
However, the poor management of this type of lesion will lead to the risk of recurrence, or even cause more serious symptoms in the future. It should therefore be taken seriously.



4) How is rehabilitation going?


The treatment will focus on different points:


  • Muscle and tissue relaxation
  • Recovery of joint mobility
  • Overall and specific muscle strengthening
  • Improvement of motor control
  • Improvement of the stability of the cervical and scapular region
  • Patient education in order to to avoid recurrences



5) Can I continue to train?


Initially, the cessation of sporting activity is most of the time recommended in order not to aggravate the lesion. Torticollis also sometimes handicaps the individual to the point that he can no longer move his neck and/or shoulders correctly.
Consulting a health professional then makes it possible to determine the causes of the pain as well as the procedure to follow in order to return to your sports practice as quickly as possible in complete safety.



6) Will I get back to my pre-injury level?


Provided you follow the instructions and recommendations given by your therapist, you will more than likely find your level in a few days / weeks!



7) What can I do to speed up the process?

In order to speed up the healing process, be sure to follow the recommendations of the health professionals with whom you work. 

Laziness or, on the contrary, overzealousness, will be your enemies.
Conversely, discipline, rigor, perseverance as well as a positive and voluntary state of mind will help you get back in top shape as soon as possible!