Torticollis, or wry neck, refers to a condition that stems from the twisting of the neck. It causes the head to tilt or rotate at an awkward angle while the chin points to the other side of the body. Most of the time, the condition occurs as a congenital disability. However, some patients acquire it due to injuries to the neck muscles. Some patients note that their condition goes away after a while. But, some have to seek procedures like torticollis chiropractic treatment to correct the problem.
What Causes a Wry Neck?
The root cause of torticollis tends to vary a lot from one person to another. Some are hereditary, while others happen while they were still in the mother’s womb. When the head shifts into an abnormal position during pregnancy or delivery, the developing child might suffer from blood vessel or muscle damage.
It can also get triggered by a neck injury during adulthood. When you suffer from physical trauma, sports injury to the head, or a sharp and swift blow, you might also increase your risk for developing torticollis.
Types of Torticollis
While torticollis remains a largely misunderstood condition of the neck, doctors classify it differently according to its severity and the likely cause. Check out some of the common types of torticollis and how they can impact the body:
Temporary Torticollis – This type usually stems from an inflamed lymph node due to colds or infection. It can also occur due to a minor neck injury.
Fixed torticollis – Usually, fixed torticollis happens due to a bone or muscle structure abnormality. Sometimes, it can also stem from a brainstem tumor. Unfortunately, this type of torticollis can trigger facial muscle problems, especially among kids.
Muscular torticollis – This form of wry neck occurs when the neck muscles tighten. It’s also a common problem among unborn babies when there isn’t enough room in the womb.
Cervical dystonia – Otherwise known as spasmodic torticollis, cervical dystonia causes painful muscle spasms. It’s a rare condition but can cause severe disability to the affected individual.
Klippel-Feil syndrome – Unlike the other types of torticollis, the Klippel-Feil syndrome occurs as a congenital problem. Besides affecting the neck alignment, it can also cause hearing impairment.
Torticollis in Infants
A wry neck is a fairly common issue among newborn kids. It typically affects developing children delivered in a breech (butt first) position. It can also occur when doctors use forceps or vacuum pumps to deliver a child.
While the condition might appear painful, experts believe that it doesn’t cause any discomfort to the child. However, it can progress into a bigger problem if it doesn’t get resolved through procedures such as torticollis chiropractic care. Studies done through the years highlight the strong link between torticollis in infants and chiropractic care. So, if your child has it, you might find it helpful to seek the assistance of an upper cervical chiropractor.
Resolving Torticollis – What Are The Options?
Finding an effective treatment for torticollis largely depends on what type you have. For some patients, the symptoms disappear after a few days. However, if the underlying cause includes a bone malformation, tumor, or cervical bone misalignment, you may need to seek specific procedures, such as:
Studies show strong evidence that torticollis chiropractic can provide long-term relief. A 2015 case study on torticollis in infants and chiropractic care investigated a 23-month old boy. He has a history of torticollis with abnormal eye movements. Thankfully, after receiving torticollis chiropractic treatment, his symptoms significantly improved.
With physical therapy, patients with a wry neck can gradually restore the normal form of the neck. This approach also helps strengthen the muscles and increase the neck’s range of movement. Physical therapists may employ various techniques, including gentle neck muscle stretching and deep neck massage.
Learn more about torticollis in the blog articles below.