Torticollis can knock life off balance with its painful and awkward angles, making even basic movements difficult. If you or someone you know has ever woken up with a rigid, slanted neck, unable to turn your head without wincing, you’ve experienced the discomfort of this condition.
However, there’s a glimmer of hope—with the specialized care of a chiropractor for torticollis, relief isn’t just a possibility; it’s achievable.
On the path to regaining your neck’s mobility, a chiropractor is more than just a guide; they are a dedicated partner who assists you in returning to comfort and good health.
What is Torticollis?
Torticollis, also known as ‘wry neck,’ is a condition where the neck gets twisted and causes the head to tilt and turn to one side. This can be painful and make it hard to move the head.
Sometimes, the muscles in the neck can spasm, which means they tighten up and don’t relax. This is what causes the discomfort and odd position of the head. It occurs due to compression of the 11th cranial nerve, which supplies the sternocleidomastoid muscle.
It can happen to anyone, and there are different types, some that babies are born with and others that develop later in life.
Types of Torticollis
Following are a few types of torticollis:
- Temporary Torticollis: This happens from being in a weird position or an injury. It goes away after a little while.
- Fixed Torticollis: This type is when the muscles are always tight. It doesn’t relax easily and might need a doctor’s help.
- Torticollis in Babies: Sometimes babies are born with their necks twisted. They need gentle care to get better.
- Adult-Onset Torticollis: Grown-ups can get it too, mostly from their neck muscles being overworked or hurt.
Symptoms and Signs
People with torticollis might notice several signs.
Here are some common ones:
- Head Tilt: The head leans to one side, and it’s hard to move it back.
- Neck Pain and Stiffness: The neck and shoulder pain might hurt or feel stiff.
- Uneasy Headache: Sometimes, there might be a headache that doesn’t feel good.
- Higher Shoulder: One shoulder might be lifted higher than the other.
- Jittery Muscle Movements: The muscles in the neck might jerk or be pulled.
- Feeling Dizzy: It might make some folks feel dizzy or like they are spinning.
- Trouble with Seeing Clearly: Because the head is tilted, it might be hard to see things properly.
- Swelling of the neck muscles (possibly present on just one side).
- The head and neck have a limited range of motion.
Conventional Treatments for Torticollis
When dealing with torticollis, doctors usually have a few ways to help make things better.
Let’s examine some common treatments.
Medication might be a good starting point for those dealing with the discomfort of torticollis. Doctors often prescribe medicines to help the muscles chill out and take the edge off the pain. These could be muscle relaxers or even something to help with inflammation.
2- Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is like a workout plan for your neck. The therapist will show you exercises that stretch and make your neck muscles stronger. This can help your neck move more easily and even stop the pain.
Surgery may be the next step in severe cases where nothing else works. Surgeons can fix the muscles and bones in the neck to help the head stand straight. This is a big deal and is only done when necessary.
Can a Chiropractor help with Torticollis?
When faced with the discomfort of torticollis, patients are usually on the lookout for effective treatments that provide relief.
Let’s explore the potential relief that chiropractic care could offer and delve into the methods chiropractors use to address this condition.
Specific Chiropractic Adjustments for Torticollis
- Gentle Neck Twists: The chiropractor carefully moves your neck to help the spine bones line up right.
- Soft Pushes: With small and gentle nudges, they get the neck bones into a better position.
- Light Stretches: They stretch your neck muscles just enough to help them relax and stop pulling the wrong way.
- Pressure Points Therapy: Your chiropractor might press on tight spots in the muscles and release those trigger points, which can make them softer and less sore.
Additional Therapies and Exercises
Just like different tools help a gardener take care of a garden, there are different therapies your chiropractor might use to help your neck get better:
- Warm Heat: Putting something warm on your neck can relax muscles.
- Cool Ice Packs: Sometimes, coolness can soothe sore neck muscles.
- Funny Putty: Therapeutic putty or special exercises can strengthen your neck muscles and make them more flexible.
- Electric Buzz: A mild electric current called TENS can tickle the muscles and calm the pain.
- Stretchy Bands: Stretching with rubber bands helps pull your muscles correctly.
- PVC TOT Collar is applied to the neck for a few days.
Chiropractor for Torticollis in Adults
When grown-ups get torticollis, their necks are having a hard time.
The muscles in the neck won’t relax, making the head lean to one side, and it’s tough to turn it back. It can hurt and make your neck feel all stiff and uncomfortable.
It’s not just something babies deal with; even adults can find themselves facing this tricky neck problem.
Diagnosing Torticollis: A Step-by-Step Approach
Torticollis is diagnosed using a step-by-step approach adopted by a chiropractor.
- Visual Assessment: Initially, the chiropractor visually examines the neck’s posture, noting any abnormal head tilt or neck position.
- Palpation: By gently feeling the muscles of the neck and shoulder, the practitioner can detect muscle tightness, tenderness, or any abnormal masses.
- Range of Motion Tests ask the patient to move their head and neck in various directions to assess the extent of movement restriction.
- Neurological Screening: The chiropractor may perform basic tests to ensure the nervous system functions correctly and rule out other conditions.
Lab and Radiological Investigations
- X-rays can help identify any underlying skeletal abnormalities or dislocations that might contribute to torticollis.
- MRI or CT scans: More detailed images from these scans can uncover problems with soft tissues, spinal cord, or nerves that might not be visible on an X-ray.
- Blood Tests: All baselines detect signs of infection or other conditions that might cause muscle stiffness.
Many adults with Torticollis find significant relief through chiropractic care.
Here’s how a skilled chiropractor might approach treatment:
Chiropractors often utilize spinal adjustments, or spinal manipulation, to relieve discomfort caused by Torticollis. These adjustments are aimed at realigning the vertebrae and reducing the tension in the neck muscles.
Correcting spinal alignment can alleviate pain and improve mobility.
Soft Tissue Therapy
Soft tissue therapy involves various techniques to treat the muscles, ligaments, and tendons affected by Torticollis. Your chiropractor may employ therapeutic massage, trigger point therapy, or myofascial release techniques to relax and stretch the neck and upper back muscles.
Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
A crucial component of long-term relief from Torticollis is incorporating specific exercises targeting neck strength and flexibility.
Your chiropractor might provide a series of stretches to practice at home, which can help extend the benefits of your in-office treatment sessions.
Benefits of Chiropractor for Torticollis
If you’re dealing with Torticollis, visiting a chiropractor can offer many benefits:
- Pain Relief: One big plus of seeing a chiropractor is that they can improve your neck pain. They know just how to help your muscles relax and stop hurting.
- Improved Movement: After some visits, moving your head around is easier. The stiffness can disappear, and you can look all around without hurting.
- Natural Approach: Chiropractic care is all about naturally helping you. This means you won’t have to use as much medicine; you can skip the stuff that might make you feel bad.
- No Surgery Needed: If you can fix your neck with the help of a chiropractor, you might not need surgery at all. That’s good news because surgery is a big deal and can be scary.
- Can Help Quick: Sometimes, you might feel better after just a few times seeing a chiropractor. This can be a fast way to make your neck feel like it should.
1. Can a chiropractor fix my neck if I have torticollis?
Yes, a chiropractor can make your neck better. They adjust your spine and relax your muscles, which can greatly help with pain and stiffness.
2. Do chiropractic adjustments for torticollis hurt?
No, they shouldn’t hurt. Chiropractors know how to work on your neck gently, so it feels pretty good instead of hurting and helps you get better.
3. How long will it take before I start feeling better?
It can be different for everyone, but some people feel better after just a few visits to the chiropractor.
4. Do I need to take medicine or have surgery for torticollis?
You might not need medicine or surgery if you go to a chiropractor. They try to make you feel better naturally, without those things.
- What can I do at home to help with my torticollis?
Your chiropractor can teach you special neck exercises and show you good ways to sit or sleep that help keep your neck in the right spot. Doing these things at home can make a big difference.
In a Nutshell
If you’re asking yourself, Can a chiropractor help with torticollis?
The answer is filled with hope.
Just like a storybook hero who overcomes challenges, you, too, can turn the page on neck pain with the help of chiropractic care.
Each adjustment and therapy session can be a step towards a happier, healthier you, with less pain and more freedom to move your head easily.
And remember, your journey to wellness is a story worth telling.
For more stories of healing and health, don’t forget to soar over to our other blogs at chiropric and discover new ways to keep your body’s tale an epic one.