Not all cases of torticollis are severe, and many are caused by muscle spasm only. This may be in the aftermath of an accident, or as a consequence of poor posture or life habits.
These milder cases can be effectively managed with alternative treatments and home remedies and do not require medical treatment unless the condition worsens to the point that quality of life is negatively affected.
Regular massage therapy can be extremely effective for releasing muscle of stress not just in the neck, but also in the upper back and shoulders.
If degenerative disc disease and back problems play a role in the presentation of torticollis, chiropractic care can also be useful. Some chiropractic techniques are specifically designed to release muscle contractures like those typically seen in chronic cases of torticollis.
Both massage therapists and chiropractors can also instruct patients in home exercise techniques and postural improvements that can lessen or prevent recurrent episodes of mild torticollis.
Eastern medicine works on an entirely different perception of illness than that seen in the West. Acupuncture treatments target meridians and channels of energy in the body that, when they are blocked, are believed to be the source of illness and disease.
Like massage therapy, acupuncture has garnered an increasing level of respect from traditional Western doctors over the past few decades for its effectiveness in helping patients manage chronic pain and reduce levels of stress.
The use of acupuncture for torticollis has proven to be more effective in cases where the cause of the twisted neck is directly traceable to sprained or injured muscles. The level of impairment in these cases might be compared to having a “crick” in the neck.
Whether or not the treatment is effective against more serious and chronic incidents of torticollis remains to be seen, but there is certainly nothing to be lost in trying this avenue of approach.
Some cases of spasmodic and recurring torticollis are more aggravating than debilitating. These less severe occurrences can be aided by a range of home remedies.
Heat application is universally helpful to reduce pain. Standing under a warm shower targets the heat directly on the affected muscle and if the shower head is outfitted with a pulsating attachment, also offers the benefit of a light massage.
Twisted neck can be aggravated by sitting for long periods of time while reading or working at a desk. Try investing in a wearable, battery-operated neck massage device or apply re-usable heat packs.
Try to take breaks while you work, moving your head and shrugging your shoulders repeatedly to loosen up the muscles. Try not to hold a telephone between your neck and shoulder while talking. Use an earpiece instead.
Always use a pillow when traveling or in any situation where you are likely to doze off in a seated position. This not only subjects your neck to an unnatural angle, but to sudden jerks when you come awake.
Buy good quality pillows for sleeping at night, and make sure you are getting an adequate amount of rest. Stress and tension that settles in the muscles of the neck and shoulders makes torticollis worse.
A decent book on torticollis
Very helpful and informative. Covers everything I was looking to find out.