Torticollis is defined as a sustained contraction of the muscles of the neck that causes the head to twist and turn to one direction. Usually the sternocleidomastoid muscle or the trapezius muscle is involved. This condition is usually pain-free, creating little to no discomfort in the child. If the baby has the condition at birth it’s called congenital muscular torticollis. If they develop the condition after birth it’s called acquired. This is a common condition, affecting 1 in 250 babies born with the condition.
In the congenital version, the muscles that connect the collarbone to the skull tighten causing movement to be constricted. This can be from the positioning of the head in the uterus or trauma in the birth process. During birth, the neck often becomes compressed, rotated and stretched. Even though the condition is considered congenital, it may take up to three months for an infant to develop torticollis.
Acquired torticollis usually starts as a slight neck pain that worsens until one day you wake up and cannot move your neck. No clear cause can be found, but sometimes prolonged postures, draughts and colds have been implicated.
Chiropractic and physical therapy are natural treatments for torticollis. Babies with torticollis usually experience subluxations in the upper cervical spinal area. A chiropractor specializes in treating soft tissue injuries, especially those in the spine, nervous system, and musculoskeletal system. Spinal adjustments are specifically tailored to meet the child’s size and can range from a gentle concentrated pressure to a light gentle impulse. Chiropractors perform specific upper cervical adjustments, soft tissue/manual therapy, and prescribe specific stretches. A textbook case of torticollis may be treated in three to four chiropractic sessions.
Physical therapy is another non-invasive way to treat torticollis. Physical therapists teach parents specific stretches, ways to control posture in strollers, car seats, and swings. They also perform active rotation exercises using toys, lights, and sounds to encourage the infant to turn their neck toward the non-effective side.
In our clinic, chiropractors and physical therapist work very closely for the benefit of the patient. If you have a child suffering from torticollis, don’t hesitate making an appointment with us!
For further information on chiropractic care contact Northwest Wellness in Federal Way, WA 2539270660.