Infant torticollis can be a real pain in the neck for newborns. Does your little one have limited neck movement or keep it tilted to one side? These telltale signs could mean that infant torticollis is present. Here’s why early chiropractic checkups are a safe way to detect infant torticollis and remedy any troublesome neck pain.
What is Infant Torticollis?
When an infant is born with its head turned to one side and has difficulty moving it to the other side, this is known as infant torticollis. It typically happens as a result of birth trauma, though it may also begin as a result of positioning in the uterus. In modern childbirth, there is so much intervention involved in bringing babies into the world. With vaginal delivery, for instance, as soon as the baby’s head is visible, an instrument may be used to help pull the baby out of the birthing canal.
Such intervention can cause damage to the upper neck. Muscles that work to hold the head go into a severe spasm, which in turn causes the infant to present a tilted head posture – much like when an adult wakes up and can’t seem to turn their neck in the morning. Pulling on a twisted neck only worsens the problem. This can lead to nursing issues like breast preference and uneven milk supply, as it hurts the infant too much to turn to the other side to nurse.
Some Options Are Too Extreme
Right now, the general first course of action for treating infant torticollis is physical therapy. Yet, going in for physical therapy while the muscles are stressed out can be really hard on a newborn.
Think of it this way: when your leg muscle cramps, pulling it in the opposite direction can be really painful. Imagine if you had one every day, and you went to physical therapy to have it stretched out. The pain would be terrible, and you would stop going.
Babies experience pain in the same way. And if they go to physical therapy enough times but it doesn’t work, surgery may be performed. This is an extreme step to take, as it requires cutting the tendons in the neck so the head will go upright.
Misalignment of the upper neck puts a lot of pressure on the nervous system. Muscles go into spasm as a natural reaction for protecting a really severe injury. With infant torticollis, surgery does nothing to fix the root cause of the problem – it only makes the issue worse.
Chiropractic is a Great Alternative
A lot of people are still afraid of taking their newborns and infants to the chiropractor. Oftentimes, it’s because the parents have been to chiropractic sessions themselves, and they worry the doctor will use the same techniques on the child as they do an adult.
However, pediatric adjustments are very gentle and tailored to their physical build. It doesn’t take much force to adjust tiny spines. If you can restore some movement in the cervical spine, the muscles will go back into a state of ease on their own. That’s why chiropractic treatment is such a great option: no surgery is required and it works quickly.
Over to You
No matter the birthing process, your baby can experience birth trauma. Early, non-invasive check-ups can help your little one start its new life on a healthy note. Our chiropractic sessions are an easy and safe way to detect and relieve infant torticollis. Learn more about our gentle newborn checkups, or contact us today to schedule an in-home check-up today.
Keep Young Athletes Healthy and Fit
In today’s age of health and fitness, more and more kids are involved in sporting activities. Although being part of a football, soccer or Little League team is an important rite of passage for many children, parents and their children could be overlooking the importance of proper nutrition and body-conditioning needed for preventing injuries on and off the playing field.
The majority, if not all, sports are good, provided that the child prepares appropriately,” says Timothy Ray, DC, a member of the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries and Physical Fitness. “Without proper preparation, playing any sport can turn into a bad experience. There are structural and physical developmental issues that need to be taken into consideration before children undertake certain sports.”
Highly competitive sports such as football, gymnastics and wrestling follow rigorous training schedules that can be potentially dangerous to an adolescent or teenager. The best advice for parents who have young athletes in the family is to help them prepare their bodies and to learn to protect themselves from sports related injuries before they happen.
“Proper warm up, stretching and strength-training exercises are essential for kids involved in sports, but many kids learn improper stretching or weight-lifting techniques, making them more susceptible to injury,” says Steve Horwitz, DC, an ACA member from Silver Spring, Md., and former member of the U.S. Summer Olympic medical team. “Parents need to work with their kids and make sure they receive the proper sports training.”
“Young athletes should begin with a slow jog as a general warm-up, followed by a sport-specific warm-up. They should then stretch all the major muscle groups,” says Dr. Horwitz. “Kids need to be instructed in appropriate exercises for each sport to prevent injuries.”
Proper nutrition and hydration are also extremely vital. “While an ordinary person may need to drink eight to 10 8-ounce glasses of water each day, athletes need to drink even more than that for proper absorption. Breakfast should be the most important meal of the day. Also, eating a healthy meal two to four hours before a practice or a game and another within one to two hours after a game or practice allows for proper replenishment and refuels the body,” adds Dr. Horwitz.
Young athletes today often think they are invincible. The following tips can help ensure your child does not miss a step when it comes to proper fitness, stretching, training and rest that the body needs to engage in sporting activities.
Encourage your child to:
Doctors of chiropractic (DC) are trained and licensed to treat the entire neuromusculoskeletal system and can provide advice on sports training, nutrition and injury prevention to young athletes. https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Kids-and-Sports