Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

I hurt my neck the other day when I fell and I was sure I'd hurt a disc, but my doctor said it was torticollis. What's the difference and how can he tell?

Answer:

Torticollis, like a herniated disc in the neck, can be very painful, but torticollis affects the soft tissue in the body, like the muscles or ligaments, or the nerves, not the discs.

Adults who get torticollis usually get it from a trauma to the neck, such as turning too hard, being in an accident, falling, or something similar. The ligaments, which stabilize the muscles, can stretch or tear, causing the pain. More rarely, tumors or infections can cause the pain of torticollis. Most often, it is treated with a soft neck brace or collar, to keep your neck stable, medications for the pain, heat to the site and maybe physiotherapy. Your doctor will recommend what is best for you. Tunc Oketnoglu, MD, et al. Anterior Cervical Microdiscectomy with or without Fusion. In Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques. July 2007. No. 5. Pp. 361-368.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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