Torticollis in children

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Torticollis (twisted neck) is a condition in which the neck locks in an unequal position, which in turn can cause pain in the neck, shoulders and head. This position can often occur with involuntary, jerky neck and head movements. The condition has different degrees and can have painful muscle contractions. Wrong position is generally constructed with rotation of the chin to one side and the head leaning to the opposite shoulder, we also see a backbending of the head.

There are two types of Torticollis in children

1. Congenital muscular torticollis which is normally detected at birth.
2. Acquired torticollis that may occur later and often from 4-6 months and older.

What causes Congenital torticollis?

The cause of congenital torticollis is unclear. But it’s believed, that the birth and the child’s position in the womb can be a contributing cause. A spasm of the neck muscles sternocleidomastoid as the child lies with his head to one side and rotated to the other. This muscle arises from the scalp behind the ear and attaches themselves off in front of the neck and the sternum. Also, in very rare cases, congenital torticollis can have a serious underlying disease (pathology). Therefore, our chiropractors as the primary contact in healthcare can refer the patient if there is suspicion of more serious conditions.

Symptoms of  Congenital torticollis

  • The child has a limited range of motion in the head and neck.
  • The head tilts to one side while the chin tilts to the other.
  • There may be a small, pea-sized lump (or “pseudotumor”) sometimes found on the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle.
  • Asymmetries of the head and face, indicating plagiocephaly, may also be present.
  • Musculoskeletal problems, such as hip dysplasia, are sometimes present.

What causes Acquired torticollis in children?

Acquired torticollis is often described as an acute wry neck. This can also occur for many different reasons. For example, static overload, sleeping with a too high or low pillow or even cold wind on the neck can be contributing factors. Symptoms often begin spontaneously, with the impaired movement of the neck and moderate to severe pain.

Symptoms of  Acquired torticollis

  • There’s a limited range of motion in the head and neck.
  • The head tilts to one side while the chin tilts to the other.
  • With a condition called benign paroxysmal torticollis, there may be recurrent episodes, or “attacks,” of head tilting. Often these attacks are accompanied by other symptoms, such as vomiting, irritability and/or drowsiness.
  • Additional symptoms vary according to the cause of the torticollis.

To manage chiropractor operators torticollis.

Our chiropractors put a diagnosis on the basis of medical history and physical examination, and we can refer for MRI, CT or X-Ray if needed. The diagnosis is the basis for treatment and dependent on the underlying cause. Treatment may consist of, among other joint corrections, muscular therapy and ergonomic advice. To avoid recurrence the chiropractor will provide training exercises; training in the correct use of muscles and proper posture will in most cases have a preventive effect.

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