Torticollis and Chiropractic

As a parent, you notice everything your baby does and all of their changes and developments. But what if you notice that their head tilts to one side? Torticollis is a common condition that affects infants, and while it begins as a mild issue, without treatment, it can become more serious. The good news is that care from a Charlotte chiropractor can be an effective way of addressing torticollis in babies.

What Is Torticollis in Infants?

Torticollis is a general term for unbalanced or uneven neck muscles, also known as wry neck. This can occur in anyone when the muscles on one side of the neck are shortened, and the head tilts in order to compensate. Infants are particularly prone to torticollis for a variety of reasons, starting with the circumstances of their birth.

Any birth injury or trauma can immediately misalign a baby’s spine and lead them to have trouble properly balancing their neck muscles. Interventions during delivery, like vacuums or forceps, heighten this risk as they may damage the upper neck and cause severe spasms, leading to a tilt of the head. Even a baby’s position while in the womb can lead to a tilted head. How the baby is positioned after birth while in car seats, lying on the floor, or being held can also cause some imbalances in the neck muscles that lead to torticollis.

While a slightly tilted head is not dangerous, it can lead to a number of issues if left untreated. Some babies will have nursing issues that make it hard to breastfeed or lead to a significant breast preference, for example. Over time, torticollis can lead to more serious conditions like plagiocephaly, which may require a helmet, cranial adjustments, and other interventions.

The Best Care for Infant Torticollis

When infant torticollis is diagnosed, the immediate course of action is to correct the uneven neck muscles as soon as possible to allow for a better posture in the neck. Because babies do not understand what is happening, physical therapy may be difficult or even painful, though it is helpful in some severe cases.

Instead, chiropractors like Dr. Grant Lisetor take a gentle approach that starts with repairing the root cause of infant torticollis. To do this, the focus is put on misalignments in the cervical spine that are placing pressure on the nervous system. Releasing this pressure can reduce muscle spasms that lead to torticollis. This solves the root cause of the issue and offers protection against further muscle problems, unlike surgery and other invasive techniques.

Is Chiropractic Safe for Infants?

Of course, all parents are committed to protecting their children, and many wonder if chiropractic care is safe for a small baby. Here at Greater Life Chiropractic in Charlotte, we have great news for you! Not only is it safe, but it is often far safer than many medical treatments. An infant’s adjustment is typically a series of small touches that place gentle pressure on the spine without damaging it – many babies don’t even realize it is happening!

Research also shows us that this is a safe form of care, with infants responding favorably to chiropractic care for torticollis and its symptoms.

When you contact Greater Life Chiropractic in Charlotte, you’ll be greeted by a caring team of individuals who are committed to your well-being. Led by Dr. Grant Lisetor, Greater Life Chiropractic is the leading pediatric chiropractic office in Charlotte. The team will be happy to discuss how we care for our youngest practice members and put your mind at ease. Our goal is to help you help your baby in a gentle and effective manner!

Sources

Rogers, G.F., Oh, A.K., Mulliken, J.B. “The role of congenital muscular torticollis in the development of deformational plagiocephaly.” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 2009 Feb; 123 (2): 643-652. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19182625/

Siegenthaler, M.H. “Chiropractic Management of Infantile Torticollis With Associated Abnormal Fixation of One Eye: A Case Report.” Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 2015 Mar; 14(1): 51–56. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4371108/