Torticollis is a term used to describe tightness in the neck musculature that results in limited neck range of motion (generally rotation and lateral flexion). Torticollis is most often diagnosed in children but can be applied in adult cases where similar tightness has occurred (typically involving a dysfunction of the spinal accessory nerve).
The primary symptoms of cervical torticollis are restrictions in movements of the neck into rotation and lateral flexion. Pain may also be reported as well as muscle spasms and joint stiffness.
What to expect from physical therapy
Physical therapy for torticollis in infants begins with positioning strategies and passive stretches as infant torticollis is generally considered a self-limiting disorder. Depending on the mechanism behind adult torticollis, physical therapy will focus on reducing pain, restoring range of motion, and strengthening postural muscle to maintain normalized alignment.