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How is torticollis diagnosed?

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Quick Answer

Torticollis is diagnosed through observing the position of the head, observing the shortening or thickening of neck muscles, CT scan of the neck, MRI of the brain, and electromyogram on the neck muscles, MedlinePlus explains. Blood tests are often also performed to help diagnose the cause of the torticollis.

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Full Answer

Torticollis is a condition where the neck muscles cause an involuntary movement of the head which causes it to turn, move to one side or both, MedlinePlus states. Patients may experience more than one involuntary head position. There are many conditions that can cause torticollis, some of which are genetic and some of which are acquired. Acquired causes for this condition include injury to the neck muscles, injury to the upper spine or damage to the nervous system. Torticollis also occurs without any identifiable cause.

The abnormal head position and tightened neck muscles caused by torticollis can produce several symptoms as side effects, says MedlinePlus. These include head tremor, neck pain, headache, uneven shoulders and swelling in the neck muscles. If it goes untreated, this condition can also put pressure on the nerves in the neck and cause numbness and tingling. Treatment is relatively easy when torticollis occurs at earlier ages, but is often more complicated in older patients.

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