intermittent torticollis

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(tort?i-kol'is) [L. tortus, twisted + L. collum, neck]
Stiff neck associated with muscle spasm, classically causing lateral flexion contracture of the cervical spine musculature. It may be congenital or acquired. The muscles affected are principally those supplied by the spinal accessory nerve. Synonym: wryneck


The condition may be caused by scars, disease of cervical vertebrae, adenitis, tonsillitis, rheumatism, enlarged cervical glands, retropharyngeal abscess, or cerebellar tumors. It may be spasmodic (clonic) or permanent (tonic). The latter type may be due to Pott disease (tuberculosis of the spine).

congenital muscular torticollis

Congenital fibrosis of the sternocleidomastoid muscle in the newborn, causing rotation of the infant's head to the opposite side. The condition usually becomes evident in the first 2 weeks of life. Treatments include physical therapy or, in refractory cases, surgical division of the muscle. Synonym: fibromatosis colli

fixed torticollis

An abnormal position of the head owing to organic shortening of the muscles.

intermittent torticollis

Spasmodic torticollis.

ocular torticollis

Torticollis from inequality in sight of the two eyes.

spasmodic torticollis

Torticollis with recurrent but transient contractions of the muscles of the neck and esp. of the sternocleidomastoid. Synonym: intermittent torticollis Synonym: cervical dystonia


Botulinus toxin has been used to inhibit the spastic contractions of the affected muscles. See: botulinus toxin

spurious torticollis

Torticollis from caries of the cervical vertebrae.
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