What is torticollis and how can we help?
Torticollis is a contraction of the muscles in the neck that are innervated by the spinal accessory nerve (Cranial nerve XI). Classic signs of torticollis are when the head is drawn to one side and rotated so the chin points to the opposing side. Typical presentation can also include a flat occiput (back of the head) due to increased pressure from looking to the one side. A newborn with torticollis may also have difficulty breastfeeding.
At Brent Family Chiropractic we offer several options to alleviate Torticollis symptoms. Chiropractic adjustments, Massage and CranioSacral Therapy reduce the tension within the muscles, fascia and bony structures to allow the body to function properly.
Chiropractic adjustments for torticollis involve specific contact to the joint in the spine that is restricted or out of alignment. Adjustments with newborns and children are very gentle, and the pressure used is minimal to achieve the correction. The closer to onset of the symptoms that treatment is given, the less likely the child will need further interventions.
Massage for torticollis involves light stretching of the head and neck, trigger point therapy along the upper shoulders and full neck as well as light massage to increase circulation to the muscles to aid in relaxing the muscular tension.
CranioSacral Therapy for torticollis involves light touch along the base of the neck into the upper torso, throughout the middle and upper neck as well as to the base of the cranium (head) and along the temporal lobes (where the ears connect).
Treatment for torticollis ranges depending on the severity of each case. Chiropractic adjustments may be made for 4 to 10 treatments depending on how quickly the body is responding to care. Massage therapy sessions could be 30 minute to an hour weekly, or every other week for up to a month or longer. Each treatment will build upon the next, so the closer we do them together, the quicker we will see results. Keeping the appointments close together allows the body to slowly unwind the learned behavior. If our appointments are too far apart, the body can formulate new holding patterns that in turn will take longer to correct.
Rachel I. Tice, LMT
Meaghan S. Brent, DC, CACCP