Why Head Tilt Could Indicate a Vision Problem

Severe neck pain can make day-to-day life very difficult. The ongoing stiffness and soreness is bad enough, but when the neck’s range of motion starts to become affected, the daily tasks you perform without thinking become much more difficult.

Many people seek treatment for their neck pain through the traditional channels, yet are frustrated and disappointed when they don’t see results. They may frequently be seen by a chiropractor for chronic neck pain because the adjustments just don’t seem to last. Surprisingly, the reason none of these methods are helping an aching neck could actually be due to a condition called Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD).

Binocular Vision Dysfunction & Head Tilt

Severe neck pain is the most common symptom to result from head tilt, which is a mechanism the body uses to try and fix the vertical misalignment caused by BVD. Of the many people with neck pain we’ve helped at Vision Specialists of Michigan, almost all of them had a head tilt – yet only 25 percent of patients realized it beforehand! In retrospect, the tilt can be seen in their driver’s license pictures and in old photographs.

In order for your eyes to see clearly and work together effectively, they must be able to work in sync with each other, and for complete synchronization the eyes must be perfectly aligned. When the eyes are out of alignment, this synchronization is disrupted. Patients compensate by tilting their head to one side in order to vertically realign the images they’re seeing. While this often-unconscious response may help realign images, it can easily result in chronic neck pain.

How Binocular Vision Dysfunction Affects Neck Pain

Neck pain symptoms also may be due to certain conditions including:

  • Neck muscle spasm. The sudden, involuntary tightening of the neck muscles can cause sharp, jabbing pains, a condition which is referred to as a muscle spasm. They’re usually the result of overworked muscles and can last minutes, hours or days. The continuous tilting of the head by patients with BVD to realign their vision is just such an action that leads to overuse of the neck muscles and neck muscle spasm. Once the vision misalignment is correctly treated, however, the head tilt resolves and the pressure on the neck muscles will quickly decrease or disappear entirely.

  • Neck strain. Just as the eye muscles can become strained when overworked, the neck muscles and tendons can also become strained or injured when they’re overused. When BVD patients repeatedly tilt their heads, it puts additional stress on the neck muscles, which exacerbates the problem if the neck is already strained. The customized aligning prismatic lenses we prescribe to our patients work in a way that brings the eyes back into sync, which in turn realigns the images, eliminates the need for the head tilt and provides neck pain relief.

  • Scoliosis. While scoliosis is characterized by a misalignment of the spine, it can also have an effect on other parts of the body. Depending on the severity of the sideways curvature, scoliosis can sometimes cause the head and neck to tilt, resulting in neck pain. At times, this can also be accompanied by a vision misalignment. If you’re experiencing scoliosis neck pain and traditional treatments don’t seem to be working, it would be helpful to consult a NeuroVisual specialist at Vision Specialists of Michigan to see if aligning lenses will help reduce your neck pain by eliminating the need to tilt your head.

  • Torticollis (wry neck). Wry neck is the sudden onset of severe neck pain that limits range of motion and causes neck stiffness and neck muscle soreness. While painful, it is usually of short duration. If this pain and discomfort becomes chronic, lasting longer than a few days, a vision misalignment may be a contributing factor to your ongoing neck pain. Our specialized aligning lenses can relieve this chronic pain by eliminating the need for the head to tilt.

Find Relief at Vision Specialists of Michigan

If you have a head tilt, chronic neck pain or are experiencing other symptoms of BVD such as dizziness and nausea, we want to help. Contact Vision Specialists of Michigan at (248) 504-2900 to find out if we can relieve your neck pain by treating your BVD, or fill out our quick and easy screening questionnaire.


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