Torticollis, or wryneck, literally means “twisted neck” in Latin. A common transient condition found often, in individuals who have slept in the wrong position. A chiropractic adjustment or extra minerals can typically alleviate this type of torticollis. In newborns, torticollis can happen due to positioning in the womb, after a difficult childbirth or because the infant is trying to compensate for a tongue tie while nursing. This is called infant torticollis or congenital muscular torticollis. The use of forceps or vacuum devices to deliver a baby during childbirth also makes a baby more likely to develop torticollis, as in a C-section delivery, an emergency, or precipitous delivery. Also having the genetic polymorphism, MTHFR can prone a baby to have a congenital tongue or lip tie, and increase the incidence of torticollis; this causes the baby to develop “compensation” to allow for nourishment through breastfeeding. Compensation may be in the form of a neck twist in order to develop a proper latch, for nourishment.
Torticollis is relatively common in newborns. Boys and girls are equally likely to develop a head tilt, the most common visible sign, along with tongue tie and a diagnosis of MTHFR. Torticollis develops in utero or over time due to pressure on a baby’s sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM). This large, rope-like muscle runs on both sides of the neck from the back of the ears to the collarbone. Extra pressure on one side of the SCM can cause it to tighten, making it hard for a baby to turn his or her neck.
What to look for:
- The head tilts in one direction
- Preference to looking at you over one shoulder instead of tracking with the eyes
- Difficulty breastfeeding on one side (or prefers one breast only)
- Frustrated when unable turn the head completely
- Positional plagiocephaly (flattening of the head one side) from lying in one direction all the time
- Does not tolerate tummy time or gets stuck in the same position
- Development of a small neck lump, which is similar to a “knot” in a tense muscle.
Even though over 45,000 infants are born with congenital torticollis in the US each year, there is little conventional medicine has to offer. Torticollis causes painful, involuntary spasms, impedes normal growth and development, and disturbs vision. The conventional medical approach to correct torticollis often involves invasive and painful procedures and treatments. Fortunately true healing can occur.
Best tips for quick healing of Torticollis:
- Infant torticollis is often associated with subluxation of the upper cervical spine. So find a qualified pediatric chiropractor who can do an adjustment on your baby
- Soft tissue therapies can often produce a rapid solution in many cases of infant torticollis
- Be sure to get a proper diagnosis. Untreated torticollis can be misdiagnosed as reflux, colic, allergies, and fussiness
- Be sure to evaluate and treat MTHFR and other genetic concerns that may predispose a baby to tight or pulled muscles, tongue ties, or any other conditions that may affect feeding
Always remember healing is possible, trust your instinct, it’s your baby and keep asking questions until you get the answers!
Dr. Kendra Becker is one truly integrated physician practicing in for 10 years; She is Connecticut’s only “4A Specialist” (asthma, autism, allergies, atopy/eczema). She holds an ND degree from University of Bridgeport and MS, APRN from Sacred Heart University. She is board certified in both areas. Her specialties include MTHFR, fertility and treatment of “the 4As” (asthma, autism, allergies, atopy/eczema). Dr. Becker focuses on primarily treating the pediatric population and their parents as well as using her own “Pre-Conception Health Care” protocol to improve pregnancy outcomes among her patient population. Dr. Becker is a member of Both PEDANP and ANCC, as well as holding certifications for Nutrigenomics, Epigenetics and Methylation. Dr. Becker is adjunct Faculty Yale School of Nursing. She was recently chosen as one of Connecticut’s “Top Naturopathic Doctors”.
Dr. Becker lectures on various topics throughout the nation, including elimination diets, vaccine education, methylation and fertility. She has made regular appearances on both local and national TV programs, featured as a specialist and expert in the areas of holistic medicine. Dr. Becker writes for an international publication and Dr. Becker is published her first book this fall, ”A Delicious Way to Heal the Gut” a healthy cook book to help families jump start special diets.