Muscles are made of contractile tissue, which means that they have the capacity to contract and relax. This allows joints to move. When a muscle remains contracted for a prolonged period, this is known as a contracture.
The result is cramp-like pain that can be alleviated by rest. A contracture can affect any striated muscle: for example the calf or the muscles of the neck.
Torticollis is a contracture of one of the muscles allowing the head to move. Torticollis is usually unilateral, meaning that it causes the head to be tilted to the right or left and makes it impossible to turn the head. It has 3 main causes: sleeping in an awkward position, local exposure to cold (draughts) or a sudden rotation movement. Without treatment, torticollis can become chronic and lead to a permanent and unsightly abnormal posture, causing pain and discomfort.
The aim of an orthopaedic solution is to relieve pain (analgesia) and relax the muscles. A simple neck collar (C1) made of foam meets both these aims: it retains local heat and restores a physiological (normal) position thanks to sensory information at the base of the chin and the nape of the neck. The muscle gradually relaxes and pain disappears: however, collars should not be removed too soon as this could cause a recurrence.
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