the torticollis (tortum collum in Latin, which means “crooked neck”) is a neck muscle contraction very painful, which often makes it difficult to hold the head upright. Often caused by bad posture during the day or at night, stiff neck can also be due to muscle distension that occurs during exertion. The pain is felt, especially when we want to straighten the neck. Four practical tips to soothe the pain.
Apply heat to relieve tension caused by torticollis
Whether torticollis is in the early stages or already well established, “heat is always interesting because it has a vasodilator action. It improves local circulation and promotes muscle relaxation for stop the pain / contracture gear», Explains Xavier Dufour, physiotherapist.
How to do ?
Heat should be applied as often as possible, both during the day and at night. Several options are possible: hot shower, hot water bottle, cushion of cherry stones, hot wet towel … Advantage all the same to the heating patches and other thermal pockets to place on the upper back (Mercurochrome, Syntholkiné, ThermaCare, Actipoche Microbeads, cervical and trapezius thermal cushion): practical and efficient, they deliver heat continuously for 8 hours. To cover with a scarf to better retain heat.
Get a massage to relieve pain
“When you are contracted, the simple fact of touching the affected area allows you to bypass the pain message at the nervous level, even if the effect does not last more than a few hours”, explains Xavier Dufour, physiotherapist.
The ideal is to get a massage from a physiotherapist or an osteopathor, failing that, by someone close to him. On the other hand, better avoid self-massage , because it solicits the trapezius and prevents to relax well.
How to do ?
With both thumbs or the whole palm, massage for at least 10 minutes, going down from the top of the neck to the trapezius muscles.
To strengthen the action of the massage, use a gel or an oil that combines anti-inflammatory plants (harpagophytum, meadowsweet, arnica …) and relaxing essential oils(wintergreen, peppermint …): Cartimotil Gel Pileje, Relaxing Gel Paltz, Harpagreen Gel LPEV, Puressentiel Muscle Effort organic massage oil.
Focus on relaxing plants to relax
The plant option is to be remembered when you suffer from repeated blockages, clearly linked to the stress. “It is one of the most classic causes of torticollis, because it results in muscle tension at the trapezius and neck », Recalls Xavier Dufour. The objective: to release these tensions for relieve contracture.
How to do ?
“The vAlgerianis a good alternative to painkillers, thanks to its sedative and relaxing action ”, indicates Dr Eric Lorrain, phytotherapist.
In case of crisis, it should be used as soon as possible, 3 times a day, and in the form of a liquid extract (EPS, Phytostandard; Liquid extract, A. Vogel) for quick action. She relaxes in less than 2 hours. To be coupled if the pain is significant and / or lasts more than 5 days with tablets combining extracts of willow and harpagophytum (Phytostandard at the house of PhytoPrevent, 6 tablets / day), with anti-inflammatory properties.
Stretch to avoid neck blockage
Do this only if the movements are not too limited or painful, and rather after having relaxed the area with the heat. The stretching promote movement and don’t get stuck in the wrong position . “They are also useful in prevention. Doing them regularly makes your neck more flexible if you often have neck pain and stiff necks due to a bad posture at work, for example, ”adds Xavier Dufour.
What stretch if the pain is moderate?
You can do these stretches to relieve muscle tension.
- Sitting, feet flat, column well aligned, forearms relaxed on a table or your thighs, gently turn your head to the left, as far as possible but without hurting. Close your eyes and hold the position for 20 seconds.
- Sitting, back straight, grab the edge of the chair with your left hand. Then lower your head slightly, chin to chest, and tilt it to the right. Place your right hand on the head, and gently stretch the neck.
What stretch if the pain is severe?
First, choose a relaxation exerciseto relax the neck. Sitting or standing, shoulders low, and neck lengthened, the top of the head towards the sky. Inhale and bring the shoulders up to the ears, exhale and release the shoulders without tension at the neck. Imagine that your neck is lengthening.
The exercises are to be done 5 times on each sideand are taken from 80 exercises to end back pain, Jean-François Harvey (Médicis ed., € 23.90). Be careful to always make slow, progressive and not jerky movements, exhaling during the stretch!
What does not work: The use of magnets (magnetotherapy) has not been proven effective.