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What is spasmodic torticollis?

Spasmodic torticollis, also known as cervical dystonia, is a form of dystonia characterized by intermittent spasms of the neck muscles resulting in involuntary rotation and tilting of the head. These movements are frequently painful. There are three different varieties of the disorder: tonic, causing sustained turning of the head to one side; clonic, causing shaking movements of the head; and mixed tonic and clonic, involving both kinds of movements. The exact cause of this disorder is usually unknown, and it tends to appear in adults. Spasmodic torticollis is a focal dystonia affecting the muscles of the neck, causing the neck to twist to one side (torticollis), forward (antecollis) or backward (retrocollis). All these forms of dystonia are often collectively referred to as 'torticollis'. 'Spasmodic' is an adjective often used to emphasise the spasm and the fact that it varies in severity which causes an element of trembling in many patients.

More information on torticollis

What is torticollis? - Torticollis is a type of movement disorder, in which the muscles controlling the neck cause sustained twisting or frequent jerking.
What's spasmodic torticollis? - Spasmodic torticollis is a form of dystonia characterized by intermittent spasms of the neck muscles resulting in involuntary rotation and tilting of the head.
What causes torticollis? - Congenital torticollis may be caused by malpositioning of the head in the uterus, or by prenatal injury of the muscles or blood supply in the neck.
What're the symptoms of torticollis? - Torticollis develops gradually. Torticollis may cause permanent facial deformity if it is not resolved in the first year.
How is torticollis diagnosed? - Diagnosis of torticollis is aided by an electrical study (electromyography) that can detect overactive muscles.
What's the treatment for torticollis? - Treatment of congenital torticollis involves stretching the shortened neck muscle. Drug treatments include anticholinergic drugs (baclofen).
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