How a Torticollis Chiropractor Can Help Your Child

Have you noticed a limited neck movement or a little tilting to one side in your child?

They may have infant torticollis, a condition characterised by a twisted or tilted neck.

There are currently no known cure for the condition, but there are ways to manage it, most effectively through a specialised Chiropractor.

A Chiropractor for torticollis offers gentle pediatric adjustments that work to restore movement quickly with no pain and no need for surgery.

Keep on reading to know more about the condition, its symptoms and causes, what treatments are available, and how Chiropractic care may be the best option for your child.

What is torticollis?

upper neck

Torticollis, or wry neck, is a condition affecting the neck muscles, causing the head to twist and rotate to one side.

It can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (develops later) but is usually inborn, which is why infant torticollis is the most common type.

What are the symptoms of torticollis?

chiropractic management for infantile torticollis

Symptoms of torticollis can differ depending on whether it was acquired or congenital, but both share the following indications:

  • Tilting of the head to one side while the chin tilts to another

  • One shoulder is higher than the other

  • Limited movement of the baby’s head and neck

  • Swollen neck muscles

  • Tightness or stiffness of the neck muscles

Symptoms unique to congenital torticollis are a small, pea-sized lump in one of the baby’s neck muscles and uneven facial features.

On the other hand, acquired torticollis manifests through severe neck pain, head tremors, and headaches.

What causes torticollis?

birthing process

Congenital muscular torticollis

Congenital muscular torticollis is caused by the shortening of the baby’s sternocleidomastoid muscles (SCMs), a long muscle on each side of the neck that runs from the back of the ear to the collarbone.

This shortening may be due to the following factors:

  • An abnormal position of the baby in the womb

  • Abnormal development in the SCM

  • Hematoma in the baby’s neck muscles

  • Fibrosis of the baby’s muscle tissue

Acquired torticollis

On the other hand, acquired torticollis usually occurs because of swelling in the throat.

This swelling can be caused by GERD, reaction to certain medications, and cervical spondylosis, among other conditions.

As a result, the neck tissues start to loosen in the upper spine and move out of their normal position and spasms.

When should you call the doctor?

head tilt to one side only

Symptoms of a wry neck first begin to show between the baby’s first 6 to 8 weeks.

The moment it does, you should immediately set up an exam with your doctor, as torticollis can progressively get worse without intervention.

During the exam, your doctor will check how far the baby’s head will turn and may order imaging scans such as x-rays and ultrasounds to rule out other conditions.

What are the treatment options for torticollis?

physical therapist

Early intervention can prevent any long-term problems for your baby, such as

  • feeding problems

  • delays in sitting and walking

  • uneven posture

  • poor balance

  • positional plagiocephaly

  • getting a flathead on one side from always lying in one position

Some treatment options to consider for managing torticollis include:

Physical therapy

  • screening for muscle, bone, joint, and movement problems

  • passive range-of-motion exercises

  • active range-of-motion exercises

  • muscle strengthening and functional activities

Home treatments

  • heat therapy

  • neck exercises

  • massages

  • using neck braces or collars

Medication

  • muscle relaxants

  • antibiotics

  • botulinum toxin injections

  • pain medication

Surgery

  • lengthening the sternocleidomastoid muscle

  • fusing abnormal vertebrae

  • cutting nerves or muscles

 

What about Chiropractic for torticollis?

chiropractic adjustment

Seeing Chiropractors perform spinal adjustments and imagining these done on a child can be jarring.

You may worry that Chiropractic care is too ‘aggressive’ a treatment for a child or that these may worsen their condition.

But Chiropractors will not use the same techniques or as much force on the child as they do an adult.

Compared to physical therapy, Chiropractic treatments are the gentler option.

No need for pulling on a twisted neck; Chiropractic adjustments will be tailored to their physical build.

After all, it doesn’t take much force to adjust tiny spines at their age.

This means gentle, painless, and minimal adjustments to restore movement quickly before complications arise.

See How a Chiropractor Can Help Your Child

early chiropractic checkups

Torticollis affects the entire child; it is not just a head and neck issue.

Thus, you would need a treatment approach that also goes beyond these, as in Chiropractic care.

More than a simple adjustment of bones, Chiropractic treatment is a holistic approach that targets the human body as a whole, with extra focus given to the cervical spine.

As the leading Chiropractic centre at Vitality Chiropractic Centres, we bring whole-body Chiropractic adjustments to ensure your child can avoid long-term surgery complications as much as possible.

Secure the health of your child’s nervous system and prevent issues before they even begin. Book your child’s consultation and no-obligation appointment today!

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