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Botox Injections For Wry Neck

Torticollis, also known as a wry neck, is a painfully tilted and twisted neck. The upper part of the head tilts to one side, whereas the chin tilts to the opposite side.

This disorder could be congenital (present from birth) or acquired. It could also be caused by injury to the neck muscles and blood supply. A wry neck can sometimes go away on its own. However, there is a possibility of relapse.

Chronic wry neck could cause devastating pain and make daily tasks difficult. Fortunately, treatments and therapies are available to alleviate pain and stiffness. Surgery can often help to correct the problem. Treatment is most effective when initiated early.

The Causes of Wry Neck

The wry neck/torticollis exact cause is unknown.

Firstborn children are more likely to develop congenital muscular torticollis. A congenital hip dislocation may also be present. The cause is most likely due to the fetus's position in the uterus, which causes injury to the neck muscles.

Injury, a viral infection, or vigorous movement that irritates the cervical ligaments can cause torticollis. Other possible causes include the following:

  • Sleeping in a weird position
  • Muscle injury to the neck during birth
  • Burn injuries
  • Any injury that results in extensive scarring or muscle shrinkage
  • Muscle spasms in the neck

Torticollis can also be caused by the following secondary conditions:

  • Slipping of the facets 
  • Disk herniation
  • Infection from a virus or bacteria

The Symptoms of Wry Neck

Wry neck symptoms can develop gradually. They may also deteriorate over time. The following are the typical symptoms:

  • Neck pain and stiffness 
  • A migraine
  • Swollen neck muscles caused by one shoulder being higher than the other
  • A chin tilted to one side
  • Children with congenital wry neck may have unbalanced or flattened faces. They could also have delayed motor skills or hearing and vision problems.

The Treatments for Wry Neck 

There is currently no way of preventing a wry neck. However, seeking treatment as soon as possible can prevent it from worsening. Stretching the neck muscles can help with congenital wry neck. It is often successful if started within the first months of birth. If this or other treatments fail, surgery may be necessary to correct the problem. If the cause of the acquired wry neck is known, your doctor could treat it. The typical treatments for wry neck include:

  • Massage
  • Applying heat
  • Chiropractic care and physical therapy 
  • Traction 
  • Neck braces 
  • Stretching exercises 

Sometimes, the doctor could recommend surgery to:

  • Lengthen the neck muscles 
  • Fuse abnormal vertebrae 
  • Cut nerves or muscles 
  • Use deep brain stimulation to interrupt your nerve signals. This procedure is usually used in cases of severe cervical dystonia 

Certain medications could also be effective in relaxing the muscles. The medications include:

  • Medications used in treating tremors of Parkinson's disease
  • Muscle relaxants 
  • Pain medications
  • Botulinum toxin injections

Treating Wry Neck with Botox 

Botox® has been employed to treat cervical dystonia (also known as wry neck or spasmodic torticollis) since 1985. Neck muscles contracting involuntarily are a primary symptom of this disorder. This results in abnormal head and neck movements that can be sustained or jerky. Pinched nerves in the neck or muscle spasms can cause significant discomfort and pain.

Acetylcholine, a messenger from the nerves, which tells the muscles what to perform, is blocked when a tiny amount of Botox is injected at a site known as the neuromuscular junction. The muscles tighten, and the tension in the neck is alleviated when this stimulus is inhibited.

Approximately 70% of patients with cervical dystonia get pain relief and a reduction in uncontrollable movement after receiving Botox® injections directly into the afflicted neck muscles (Jankovic 1990; Velickovic 2001).

How Effective is Botox in Treating Wry Neck?

Botox injections are beneficial in treating cervical dystonia, according to clinical research. In this trial, participants had their afflicted muscles injected with either Botox or a placebo. The goal of the study was to determine whether Botox was more effective than the placebo at lowering participants' scores on the Cervical Dystonia Severity Scale. A higher score on this 54-point scale denotes more severe issues with head posture.

The study's findings revealed that those who received Botox injections experienced more profound score declines than those who received the placebo injections. According to the guidelines by the American Academy of Neurology, Botox should be used as the initial treatment for cervical dystonia. This implies that the first medication a doctor would recommend for the condition is Botox.

Get Wry Neck Pain Relief with Botox

The relief is not instant. However, Botox is effective, and a significant decrease in torticollis is seen and felt in around 4-6 days. Electromyography can also be used to measure it. After treatment, patients will no longer have to hold the odd neck position they were initially forced to, and the relief could last up to 4 months with proper Botox application.

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