Torticollis refers to a specific type of curve that occurs in the spine, in which one side tends to be more “wry” than the other (also known as an “uneven neck”). Typically, this one side has a tendency to rock back and forth as one or even both shoulders tilt to one side – making for pain and discomfort on that side. Muscles can contract to try to help relieve the pressure, but they are unable to relieve the stress as it tends to pull the entire neck out of alignment with the rest of the body. Eventually, the stresses in the neck pull it away from its natural curvature, resulting in torticollis. Torticollis itself is not a physical problem, but rather a neurological issue that can be corrected through chiropractic adjustments, exercise, stretches, and massage.
When one side suffers from torticollis more than the other, that side will be affected more severely. For example, if one side has severe torticollis and the other has very little, the person with the severe torticollis will usually require the more invasive intervention, such as open cholecystectomy surgery. This will release the pressure from the severely affected side, allowing for motion to be resumed between the two sides. Chiropractic patients who see more severe torticollis might also require microdiscectomy surgery, or a neck muscle cut, to release the stresses in the neck. However, before such invasive procedures are considered, the patient must first be treated for rotator cuff injuries, arthritis, or chronic shoulder problems, which might be causing the torticollis.