Have you noticed that your baby has limited neck movement, difficulty latching, or tilts their head to one side? The symptoms might be the signs of infant torticollis, which affects 1 in 250 infants.
What is Torticollis?
Torticollis (also known as ‘wryneck’ or Loxia) is usually caused by subluxation in the upper neck. This can result in a head tilt beyond its normal position and/or stiff neck which can make it hard or painful to move your head. In Latin, it literally means ‘twisted neck.’
Causes and Symptoms
Torticollis can be acquired (developed through childhood) or congenital (present at birth). Most doctors believe congenital torticollis in infants is due to cramping of the fetus in the uterus, abnormal positioning (such as breech) in the uterus, or as a result of a difficult childbirth. It can occur when the muscle that connects the collarbone to the skull tightens and constricts movement. Less commonly, Klippel-Feil syndrome may cause this condition.
Symptoms of infant torticollis that you may notice:
- Your baby holds their head to one side
- They favor one shoulder to the other (example: they always look at you over the same shoulder)
- Your baby has limited neck movement
- If breastfed, your baby has difficulty latching or breastfeeding on both sides or only prefer one breast
- A small bump on the side of the neck similar to a ‘knot’ in a tense muscle
- Uneven hair loss pattern on back of skull
- Frequent crying or discomfort
Potential Long-Term Effects of Torticollis
This condition can lead to developmental issues, including
- A flattened skull, or positional plagiocephaly, as a result of lying in one direction all the time.
- Limited range of motion
- Elevated risk of cognitive and motor delays associated with deformational plagiocephaly
- Potentially limited motion of ears and jaw
Imagine if the muscles in your babies neck are left contracted for a long period of time, what might that look like during the rest of their childhood and through adulthood?
How Chiropractic Can Help
Babies with this condition usually experience subluxations in the upper cervical spinal area. These subluxations are dysfunctions in the vertebra that can cause interferences in the body. When you visit our office in Altamonte Springs, Dr. Christina will assess your child and their health history to determine the cause of your child’s torticollis. She will identify and remove your child’s spinal subluxations through gentle, yet effective, adjustments that can help to clear these interferences.
We’ve seen numerous cases in our office with infants with this condition that have responded so well to chiropractic care!