Torticollis is a form of dystonia (prolonged muscle contractions) in which the neck muscles, particularly the sternocleidomastoid muscle, contract involuntarily causing the head to turn. Torticollis may occur without known cause (idiopathic), be genetic (inherited), or be acquired secondary to damage to the nervous system or muscles.
Review Date: 5/21/2012 Reviewed By: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.