[Acute acquired non-traumatic torticollis in hospitalized children]

Harefuah. 2002 Jun;141(6):519-21, 579.
[Article in Hebrew]


Background: The inflammatory process in torticollis involves the cervical muscles, nerves, and/or the vertebral synovia causing painful and abnormal head position. Most cases of acute acquired non-traumatic torticollis are of benign etiology, but some patients may suffer from a serious disease requiring thorough investigation and hospitalization.

Objectives: To describe the epidemiology, clinical features and the etiology of acute acquired non-traumatic torticollis in our center.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of 45 hospitalized children in the Sapir Medical Center over a 10 year period.

Results: We studied 45 children; 23 girls and 22 boys. Their mean age was 6 years (range 6 months to 16 years). All patients reported marked neck pain as their main complaint. Local infection was the most frequent etiology, and 33 (73%) patients were hospitalized during the fall-winter season. Twenty six patients underwent x-ray imaging, and of these, ten (38%) had pathology. The main findings were some degree of atlanto-axial subluxation, and widening of the prevertebral space. Treatment included analgesic and antibiotics for suspected bacterial infections. Two patients required surgical drainage. Cervical neck traction was performed on 15 patients. Mean admission time was 4.1 days and was shorter in the pediatric department compared to the ENT and orthopedic departments.

Conclusions: Careful clinical and radiological evaluation for the wide spectrum of clinical entities should be done. Local infections of the respiratory tract are the most common etiology. Conservative treatment usually leads to complete resolution in a short time.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Torticollis / epidemiology*
  • Torticollis / etiology
  • Torticollis / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome