I have treated two infants with congenital (from birth) muscular torticollis: one infant at seven months and one at four months old. Torticollis, or wry-neck, is due to an abnormal contraction of the neck muscles causing a tilting and "twisting of the neck and an unnatural position of the head." (Dorland's Medical Dictionary) Each infant was brought in by his mother and had significant left head tilt and right neck rotation.
The classic presentation of congenital torticollis is that of a newborn or infant whose head tilts toward one side while the chin rotates the opposite direction. It is often seen in the newborn due to trauma from the birthing process. Forty-six thousand births result in this disorder annually in the United States. It is the third most common congenital musculoskeletal problem after hip dislocation and pigeon-toe.
Infants with CMT often suffer from recurring ear infections, upper respiratory infections and bouts of regurgitation. Other associated conditions may include hip dysplasia, facial asymmetry, scoliosis, and club foot. Therefore, infants with CMT must be carefully evaluated. Early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment. Conservative care performed during the child's first year of life is felt to be very successful, while conservative care after this point is frequently unsuccessful.
Chiropractic adjustments address the cause of the problem which is misalignment and malfunction of the first and second vertebrae in the neck. Just a gentle push can begin the process of restoring the proper motion to the joints and relieve the muscular spasm. I am pleased to report that both infants have done exceptionally well with chiropractic care! In 6 treatments, each had close to full restoration of head and neck position.
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