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Just like there are different types of torticollis, there are different causes. But what is torticollis? This is a condition in which the head becomes persistently turned to one side, often associated with painful muscle spasms. This can present at birth or developed at a later stage in life.

The first type of torticollis is Temporary Torticollis also known as wry neck. This can happen when your child’s lymph nodes are swollen or inflamed after having an ear infection or sometimes after a cold. In most cases, temporary torticollis will go away after 2 days. But temporary torticollis can also occur when your child injures their neck and the joints between the neck and bones become sore.

Symptoms of temporary torticollis are:

  • an inability to move your head normally.
  • neck pain or stiffness.
  • a headache.
  • having one shoulder higher than the other.
  • swollen neck muscles.
  • a tilting of your chin to one side.

The second type of torticollis is fixed torticollisFixed torticollis is also called acute torticollis or permanent torticollis. It’s usually due to a problem with the muscular or bone structure. Treatment is available. With a few chiropractic adjustments, this problem can soon be resolved.

In the instance that your baby has fixed torticollischiropractic care for babies might be your best option. If left untreated, a baby is at risk for learning to move with his head tilted. This causes a child to use one side of his body more than the opposite side. 

Symptoms of fixed torticollis are:

  • Face appears unbalanced
  • Delay inability to use facial expressions
  • The underlying problem with muscles or bone structure
  • Tumour growth in the spinal cord putting pressure on the nerves in the neck

The third type of torticollis is muscular torticollis. Muscular torticollis is the most common type. Congenital muscular torticollis (CMT) may be seen at birth or might even been identified at a later stage when baby is a few weeks old or maybe even older known as acquired torticollis. Each child might have different symptoms. Symptoms might include but are not limited to:

  • Tilting of the baby’s head to one side
  • Turning of the baby’s chin toward the opposite side of the head
  • Trouble moving the head
  • Firm, small, lump in the middle of the neck muscle

In severe cases the symptoms might include:

  • Flattening of the side of the head
  • Differences between the sides of the face
  • Oddly positioned ear
  • Other abnormalities of muscles, bones, and joints

Torticollis can cause a baby’s head to flatten on one side, and if left untreated, a curve in the baby’s spine may develop as he grows older. Therefore we recommend chiropractic care for babies. About one in 250 babies are born with the condition, making it a relatively common ailment, and interestingly, up to 20 percent of babies that are born with torticollis also are born with hip dysplasia. The child may be born with torticollis, which is labelled congenital torticollis, or your child may come down with it later in which then it is referred to as acquired torticollis.

Treatment for torticollis can vary, however, chiropractic care for babies may be an option that is all-natural and safe. Although parents may be hesitant to take their infant to the chiropractor, remember that there are chiropractors who specialized in working on infants, so getting your child this type of treatment isn’t as risky as you may think. Babies with torticollis usually experience subluxations in the upper cervical spinal area. Subluxations are dysfunctions in the vertebra that are causing blockages in the body.

Chiropractic care for babies may help clear those blockages through manipulations to the spine. When dealing with torticollis specifically, chiropractic focuses on reducing those cervical subluxations.

Centurion Chiropractor can assist with congenital muscular torticollis in infants. Dr Jacques Bezuidenhout from Centurion Chiropractor has years of experience in the chiropractic care of infants, athletes as well as adults suffering from a back or neck injury.

Klippel Feil Syndrome (KFS) is a congenital, musculoskeletal condition characterized by the fusion of at least two vertebrae of the neck. Common symptoms include a short neck, low hairline at the back of the head, and restricted mobility of the upper spine. Klippel Feil Syndrome is a rare skeletal condition. It is diagnosed when two or more of the seven vertebrae in the neck are fused together congenitally, or from birth. KFS is permanent and can be degenerative.

Unless symptoms become severe, neck surgery may not be necessary. Some people are able to manage neck pain with medications, physical therapy, and chiropractic treatment. However, because the range and severity of symptoms and related medical conditions vary, treatment is individualized depending on what form the disorder takes. Symptoms of Klippel Feil Syndrome include:

  • Neck, shoulder, and arm pain
  • Problems with renal function
  • Neurological complications
  • Heart defects
  • Respiratory problems due to abnormal rib development
  • Scoliosis, spina bifida, or other spinal deformities

Your chiropractor may also recommend exercise, wearing a cervical collar, or taking nutritional supplements that help repair disc cartilage. Your chiropractor can offer tips on diet and nutritional supplements depending on your symptoms.

A chiropractor also may use flexion-distraction manipulation to treat the condition. With the use of a special instrument to apply flexion, this technique treats the discs and joints adjacent to the fused vertebrae. Reducing disc herniation relieves pinched nerve pain, which can help you regain mobility in your head and neck. Prior to flexion-distraction manipulation, your chiropractor may apply hot moist packs and low-volt galvanic stimulation to increase blood flow to the area and relieve pain.

Cervical Dystonia also referred to as spasmodic torticollis, is a painful condition in which neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing your head to twist or turn to one side. Cervical dystonia can also cause your head to uncontrollably tilt forward or backwards.

Symptoms of Cervical Dystonia includes:

  • tipping forward, chin downward, known as anterocollis
  • tilting backwards, chin upward called retrocollis
  • tilting sideways, ear to shoulder, known as laterocollis

This upper cervical misalignment can affect brain function and lead to the onset of dystonia. A chiropractic technique that focuses upon the alignment of the upper cervical vertebrae, known as upper cervical care, provides a unique approach for the treatment of cervical dystonia.

Centurion Chiropractor, Dr Jacques Bezuidenhout is an Internationally Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner (ICCSP), which fits with his love of sport and treating sport’s people. He also has completed many postgraduate courses, including international paediatric courses. Our focus is to treat the whole person and most importantly keeping you functioning at your full potential.

Centurion Chiropractor – Don’t live in constant pain. Make your appointment today.