What is Wry Neck? Can Chiropractic Help Torticollis?
The Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics published a case study in their December 2016 issue documenting the resolution of a case of acquired torticollis in a baby. Torticollis, sometimes known as wry neck, is a condition where the head is tilted significantly downward and to one side. This is usually due to a pulling from the muscles of the neck.
The study points out that there are two types of torticollis, congenital and acquired. Congenital torticollis is present at birth and is defined by WebMD as, “Congenital torticollis occurs when the neck muscle that runs up and toward the back of your baby’s neck (sternocleidomastoid muscle) is shortened. This brings your baby’s head down and to one side.” Acquired torticollis is similar except that it was not present at birth, and may have been caused by some form of trauma to the child.
In this case, a 31-month-old boy was brought to the chiropractor because the boy was suffering from neck pain and torticollis for the past six weeks. The history revealed that two weeks prior to the onset of problems the boy had fallen while trying to climb into a stroller. No one witnessed the actual fall, but the boy was complaining of left knee and ankle pain and he was limping. A few days later, the torticollis appeared.
A week after the fall, he was brought to a pediatric hospital where x-rays of the left knee and ankle were taken and determined to be normal. The medical diagnosis was an ankle sprain. A prescription of ibuprofen was given for the pain and inflammation. One week later, the child was again brought back to the hospital for the neck pain and torticollis. At that time, additional x-rays and blood tests were performed but determined to be normal.
One month after the hospital visit, the boy was brought to the chiropractor. He was suffering persistent limping and torticollis. The neck pain was more severe at night and had gotten so bad that the boy had started to hit his forehead with his hands. He was also suffering from fatigue, and was lethargic and irritable.
A chiropractic examination was performed and chiropractic care was initiated. Each visit, the results and improvements were recorded. After the first visit, it was reported that the boy had improved about 25% and was now able to lie on his back. By the second visit, he was sleeping better, was less irritable, and the ibuprofen was discontinued. By the third visit, there was no visible torticollis and no complaints on all subsequent visits.
In their conclusion the authors noted, “Neck conditions are the second leading reason for patients seeking chiropractic care in Canada and the United States. It is therefore probable that a parent may seek chiropractic care for a child who develops a torticollis.” They continued, “Pediatric chiropractic care proved beneficial for this young boy with acquired torticollis.”
If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson. We are located in north central Austin, TX.