• Alternative Names

    Wry neck; Loxia


    Treatment of congenital torticollis involves stretching the shortened neck muscle. Passive stretching and positioning are treatments used in infants and small children. Such treatments are often successful, especially if started within 3 months of birth.

    Surgery to correct the neck muscle may be done in the preschool years, if other treatment methods fail.

    Acquired torticollis is treated by identifying the underlying cause of the disorder. Application of heat, traction to the cervical spine, and massage may help relieve head and neck pain. Stretching exercises and neck braces may help with muscle spasms.

    Medications used to treat this condition include an anticholinergic drug called baclofen. Injection of botulinum toxin can temporarily relieve the torticollis, but repeat injections every 3 months are usually needed. Surgery is rarely used.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The condition may be easier to correct in infants and children. If the condition becomes chronic, numbness and tingling may develop as nerve roots become compressed in the neck.

    The muscle itself may become large (hypertrophic) due to constant stimulation and exercise.

    Botulinum toxin injections often provide substantial relief.


    Complications may include:

    • Muscle swelling due to constant tension
    • Neurological symptoms due to compressed nerve roots

    Calling your health care provider

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms do not improve with treatment, or if new symptoms develop.

    Torticollis that occurs after an injury or with illness may be serious. Seek immediate medical help if this occurs.