Torticollis causes the head to tip to one side with a twisted neck and the chin turned to the opposite side. This condition can be developed due to damage to the nervous system, muscles, and spine. It can be inherited or brought on by genetic changes. Congenital torticollis is developed at birth, which could be caused when the blood supply to the neck had been changed or the muscles injured, or because the infant’s head was in the wrong position while developing in the womb. Torticollis may also happen in adulthood.
Cervical Dystonia or Spasmodic Torticollis
When the head involuntarily tilts backward or forward this is called spasmodic torticollis. It is a very painful condition that causes the head to twist or turn to one side by involuntary contraction of the neck muscles.
Recent studies indicate that this condition may be trauma induced by such things as a mild concussion or injury to the neck/upper back. If the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck during the birthing process, or forceps or suction was used during delivery, this may explain cases of congenital torticollis. Cervical dystonia sometimes develops immediately. However, in some cases it may take weeks or even years to show up.
Treatment for this condition, especially if it is believed that it has been brought on by damage to the nervous system, spine, or muscles, begins by first finding the actual cause of the disorder. What does conventional medical treatment suggest?
- Neck braces and stretching exercises to reduce muscle spasms
- Botulinum toxin injections that can provide temporary relief, but require several injections
- Applying heat and massage to the cervical spine to help relieve head and neck pain
- Medication that includes the anticholinergic drug baclofen
- Spinal surgery if the torticollis is due to a dislocation of the vertebra, which may involve doing damage to some nerves in the neck muscles and brain stimulation
Are There any Non-Invasive, Natural Treatments Available?
Upper cervical chiropractic care can successfully relieve torticollis without drugs or surgery, in many cases. Other manipulative approaches involve cracking, twisting, or popping the spine. However, the upper cervical approach is a very gentle approach, without using the force of general chiropractic care. The focus is to non-invasively restore normal alignment. The number of adjustments needed depends on symptoms and the severity of injuries involved. Many of those that suffer from torticollis remember the injuries that caused their problems, but some do not. This may involve more testing.
What is the main objective of upper cervical chiropractic care? It is to reduce irritation to the central nervous system, or the brain and spinal cord, by reversing the trauma caused by an upper neck injury. The first visit to an upper cervical chiropractor, such as Dr. Dennis Young of Anchorage, Alaska, generally includes x-rays and a spinal examination, along with other diagnostic tests. To analyze whether or not an upper cervical injury is present and if upper cervical chiropractic care would be beneficial, there is usually a postural exam, thermography, and possibly a few other tests. Once these tests are complete, Dr. Young can determine the best plan of care for your situation. In most cases, improvement in torticollis can be seen in the first few days or weeks of treatment. Why not call today for an appointment?
Dr. John Pairmore and Dr. Dennis Young of Pairmore and Young Synergy Chiropractic, in Anchorage, Alaska have 44 years of combined clinical experience. Their anchorage chiropractic clinic is the only office in Alaska that has the specialized Atlas Orthogonal Adjusting Instrument. Dr. Pairmore and Young also serve Fairbanks, Wasilla, and Eagle River along with the entire state of Alaska. They are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraines and other headaches, whiplash and other neck injuries, chronic back pain, sciatica and more. Learn more about Our Team.