is a specific form of dystonia; many having S.T. suffer fom other
forms of dystonia as well. Whatever the case, S.T manifests itself by an
abnormal tension of certain muscles. Now the central question is:
what causes this abnormal tension.
days the most commom cause of S.T. is said to be neurological: somewhere
in the brain (ganglia) something goes wrong and gives way to a movement
disorder. Some speak of inherited causes but there is no evidence this
is a dominant factor. Mostly there is spoken about idiopatic causes
which means S.T. has a cause ánd a course out of itself. Seen this
way, alas it is nothing else but a disease which strikes you out of your
own will without you being able to do much about it: it is more or less
irreversible. This means once you got the disease it seldom disappears
out of itself. So from the medical/neurological point of view the therapy
consists not of taking away the causes but by a relief of the symptoms
possible cause is the psychological one: you could say the disorder
is being psychologised. Before the uprise of neurology especially the last
decade, this way of thinking was the dominant one. The psychological explanation
states that the origin of S.T. has to do with emotional disturbances which
manifest themselves through the body (in this case a "wry neck"). For some
this process can take big proportions: for example they consider the turning
of the neck to be an unconscious "no saying' because the person in question
doesn't dare to speak out normally. The psychological therapy tries to
highen the low self esteem and possibly to work up traumatic experiences
(from youth). Theoratically the outcome of this approach is an optimistic
one; if you find the right therapist which can help you to tackle and resolve
the so called disturbed emotions and inner conflicts the outcome should
be the disappearance of the symptoms, in this case the "wry neck". In practice
however, the pure psychological approach is as far as I know not very succesful
because other factors are involved too, for example physiological
or mechanical ones.
Physiology and burnout.
possible cause is a physiological one. It is somehow related to
the former mentioned cause (psychology) but it has a character of its own.
The line of thought here is that for some people prolonged physical as
well as psychological stress causes (stress)hormones like cortisol
and adrenaline to take too much possesion of the body leading to a disturbance
of the normal equilibrance, the so called "homeostasis". This on his turn
leads to an unceasing tension of some musclegroups which could be labeled
as a kind of dystonia. I myself consider it remarkable that stress
affects exactly just the kind of muscles which are involved in S.T.: the
muscles of the neck, shoulder and the back of the head.
An ongoing manifestation of "overstress" can lead to a so called burnout. This disease of our modern society becomes rapidly kind of epidemic (in Holland) and I wouldn't be surprised if in the near time more comes to be known about the relation between burnout and S.T.. From the contacts I have from internet I understood that there are several people with S.T. who also have burnout complaints. If you want to know more about the possible relation between S.T. and burnout look at the link I made about this subject.
about therapy from the physiological point of view: in first instance not
psychotherapy is recommended but a mix of fysical (recovery)excercises
and (probably with psychological help) learning to handle pressure and
unexplored area in relation to S.T. has to do with psychological traits
which well might have origins in an inherited predisposition. An American
woman called Elaine Aron, has written a bestseller about "The highly sensitive
person" (HSP). These people are easy overaroused, often shy, very conscientious
and more than average sensitive for social situations. Other traits of
HSP's are: very sensible for moods of other people and those of groups,
holding on to intense experiences and emotions and difficulty in getting
rid of them, but also the capability of "seeing" and feeling things more
than average people can often without being able to explain it in rational
terms. They tend to "process" events in their lives deeper and more intense
than average people which often makes them intitive. This is not always
well understood by other people. They then can come in trouble because
our "assertive" Western society doesn't always appreciate this kind of
character to say for the least. On the other hand, if a HSP him-/herselfdoesn't
acknowledge his character and takes consequences out of it he or she will
run the risk to be permanently overwhelmed and overstressed. I myself think
HSP's have more than average chance to develop S.T. because they are very
apt to (social) tensions and as said before, conscientious. Therapy is
on the one hand individual, namely accepting your highly sensitive character
(and appreciating it as well if you can), on the other hand a sociological
one: the recognition in our society that not everyone is as assertive and
strong as society might want them to be.
you can hardly call this a cause, I also see a spiritual approach to S.T..
Probably also due to their sensitive and conscientious character, people
with torticollis seek for deeper causes for their disorder. What is the
meaning of my suffering? Why am I convicted to a body which is not entirely
in my control? Has it to do with my own personality and attitude and am
I myself responsible for that? Is there an inherited cause (nature) or
has it to do with the way I am raised (nurture)? Or is there even
a deeper layer, is there a task from my ancestors of which I´m not
aware (yet) and do I have a task to fullfil to come to a deeper understanding
and awareness in my life? Or is it a task layed upon my shoulder by a higher
force which I have to carry out in this life for which I may be rewarded
in an afterlife?The last step is a belief in reincarnation: my spirit is
eternal but at this moment I´m living in an (imperfect human) body
and my task is to learn from it and to evolve to a higher state of beiing
in a next life.
not much known about this kind of cause yet. In response to my website
I received amongst others very interesting information from osteopedes
("bone specialists") who made a very convincing point showing how a wrong
position of certain skullbones can cause important nerves and bloodvessels
which run trough an opening at the bottom of the skull (The Foramen Jugulare)
to get into a scrape and overaroused as well. This can lead to a disharmony
of the shoulder- and neckmuscles and -possibly- S.T.. Also wryness of other
parts of the body, for example one of the feet, can -indirectly- cause
torticollis. A Dutch woman with severe torticollis complaints tolded me
how she was treated in the US by a computer driven apparatus which outlined
her vertical vertebrae in the proper way resulting in a great relief of
her complaints. As far as I know not much is further known about this mechanical
approach yet. Therapy in this case consists of mobilising the wrongly placed
bones which seems to result in creating space for the scraped and/or overaroused
nerves and bloodvessels-and thus deminishing of the torticollis symptoms.
Discussion and epilogue.
my analysis I mentioned six possible causes. But as far as I'm concerned
S.T. is mostly not caused by one factor but by a combination of more factors.
Probably much progress can be made by an approach in which neurologists,
psychologists, physiologists,and bone- and genespecialists, burnout specialists
and probably also people with spiritual gifts work together. This way more
insight in our disorder can be achieved leading to a wider rage of effective
therapies. I myself think S.T. is often a disorder which strikes the body
as well as the mind so looking for the one and only cause doesn't seem
very fruitful to me any more.