It may be your eyes:
Suffering From Wry Neck? It Might Be Your Eyes

Suffering From Wry Neck? It Might Be Your Eyes

Wry neck (torticollis) is a severe condition that affects thousands of people in the United States. If you or a loved one are experiencing a wry neck and other painful symptoms, use this guide to help you get to the root of your pain.

What Is Wry Neck?

Wry neck is a painfully twisted and tilted neck. Generally, if you have this condition, the top of your head tilts in one direction and your chin in the other. Some people are born with congenital muscular torticollis, while others acquire it if there is damage to the blood supply to the neck or the neck muscles. Wry neck can be a temporary or acute condition due to problems with your muscles or bones. The most common form is muscular torticollis, a condition due to issues like tight muscles on one side of the neck.

Common Symptoms of Wry Neck

There are several common symptoms of wry neck, including:
  • Spasmodic torticollis (muscle spasms)
  • Pain in the neck muscles or down your spine
  • Being unable to turn your head and usually holding it twisted off to one side
  • Chin in an awkward position
If you or a loved one have other symptoms not on this list, your torticollis may result from another condition. Symptoms like eye pain or double vision could mean that your wry neck is a symptom rather than the cause of the problem.

Possible Causes of Wry Neck

Some children are born with torticollis because a neck muscle called the sternocleidomastoid is too short. It can also occur due to trauma during birth or inherited diseases that affect the muscles or nervous system. There are several causes of acquired torticollis in adults, including:
  • Injuries to the lumbar spine or cervical spine
  • Infections that cause inflammation and muscle contraction
  • Infections in other parts of the body, such as the jaw, teeth, sinuses, or ears
When torticollis is a symptom rather than a cause of your pain, it may be due to problems with vision misalignment, which can cause you to move your head and neck to try to help realign the images. This type of movement can lead to torticollis.

How to Treat Wry Neck

There are several treatments available for people who inherit wry neck. They can start physical therapy to try and alleviate the problem through treatments like executing specific neck movements, treating an individual muscle spasm, or massaging a twisted neck (specifically the sternocleidomastoid muscle). Stretching exercises might also loosen a stiff neck, and some medications can help dull the pain. In severe cases, patients may need to pursue surgery.  If your torticollis is a symptom of another condition, you will not get relief from treatments that only target the neck. Instead, you need a specialist to help you get to the root cause of your torticollis. One condition with a wry neck as a symptom is binocular vision dysfunction (BVD). If you have BVD, getting treatment could provide the relief you need for your neck pain and other associated symptoms.  

Binocular Vision Dysfunction and Wry Neck

Subtle eye misalignments cause your eyes to fail to synchronize, leading to binocular vision dysfunction. Your eyes must work together as a team and look at exactly the same spot in order to send to the brain images that it can easily merge into the single image that you “see”. When you have BVD, to address the misalignments that are causing your brain difficulty creating clear images, your head becomes tilted, as this will bring the images closer together. Additionally, your eyes are forced into realignment. However,  f this places a great deal of overuse and stress on the muscles, causing neck pain and other symptoms of BVD. , These symptoms will continue until a specialist treats your BVD. If you have torticollis and other symptoms, compare them to the list below to see if you could have BVD. If you do, your torticollis may be a symptom, and BVD treatment can help correct it.

Binocular Vision Dysfunction Symptoms

Many symptoms of binocular vision dysfunction are synonymous with the symptoms of other health issues. This commonality can lead to a misdiagnosis, which in turn results in treatment that doesn't help. There are several BVD symptoms you should watch out for, including: The neck pain associated with BVD comes from constantly tilting your head to try to realign the images. You may not even realize you are doing it, but this constant movement can cause muscle problems that lead to torticollis.

Binocular Vision Dysfunction Treatment

Specialists treat BVD with glasses that have specialized prism lenses that change the direction of light and images in your eyes. While wearing these glasses, you no longer have to tilt your head and strain your neck to get clear images. That is because prism moves the images into positions where the brain thinks they should be, eliminating the need for eye realignment.

Top BVD Treatment with Vision Specialists

You and your loved one should not have to live with the pain of wry neck or the other symptoms of binocular vision dysfunction. Visit Vision Specialists of Michigan and take our specialized BVD questionnaire as a first step in getting the treatment you deserve.

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  • American Academy Optometry
  • American Optometric Association
  • Michigan Optometric Association
  • VEDA
  • Neuro Optometry Rehabilitation Association