What Is Infant Torticollis?

Infant torticollis, also called wryneck or loxia, is a persistent, involuntary turning of the head to one side or the other, with the chin pointing upward.  It may be genetic, or the result of a birth injury, or persistent mispositioning of the infant. It may be present at birth or develop as the infant grows older.

What Are the Symptoms?

Sometimes, torticollis is obvious. The infant has his or her head turned to one side and seems unable to turn it the other way or has a very limited range of motion. Other signs are subtler and may require a medical diagnosis. These include: persistent turning of the head to one side, headache (very difficult to diagnose infants), head tremors, neck pain, one shoulder constantly higher than the other, neck muscle stiffness, neck muscle swelling, and persistently pointing the chin upwards.

Is It Painful for the Infant?

This depends on the severity of the torticollis and what else is going on. Symptoms can include headache and neck pain, but in an infant who cannot yet talk, it can be every hard to distinguish from infant distress that has other causes. On the other hand, the neck may be tender or in spasm, and it will be obvious if gentle turning of the head in the direction opposite to the twist causes the infant pain. It all depends on the source of the problem, how severe it is, and how the infant reacts to it. Some infants may be in quite a bit of pain, while others will not appear to notice it. Even if the infant is not distressed, however, it is not a normal condition and needs to be dealt with medically. It is also much harder to treat successfully if care is delayed.

What Does It Look Like?

What Is Infant Torticollis?

How Is It Diagnosed?

As noted, sometimes it’s obvious. If it’s not, the diagnostic modalities available include CAT scans, MRI scans, and electromyography (EMG) of the neck to determine if the response of the neck muscles is normal. A physical exam will reveal whether the neck muscles are shortened and whether the head persistently tilts to one side with the chin up.

What Are the Causes?

Birth injury is one cause. This can consist of too forceful application of delivery forceps, vacuum extraction injury, or too-vigorous pulling in the infant during delivery. Acquired, rather than genetic, causes, include spinal misalignment while in the womb or abnormal presentation during delivery, such as the breech position.

After birth, torticollis may occur due to tonsillitis, tumors both benign and malignant, falling from high places, other accidents affecting the head and neck, or too much time spent lying down in car seats, strollers, and the like. Grisel’s syndrome, in which swelling (inflammation) of the tissues surrounding the atlanto-axial joint (where the head and the spine meet) forces the joint out of alignment, is a rare cause. The most common finding at surgery is a fibrous mass within the sternocleomastoid muscle, which is the primary muscle responsible for turning the head.

How Common is It?

Infant torticollis is the third most common congenital deformity. About one in 250 babies are born with torticollis, making it a relatively common birth condition. About one in 20 babies born with torticollis also have hip dysplasia, in which the socket of the hip joint does not fully contain the ball at the top of the thigh bone. Figures on acquired torticollis (developed after birth) are less exact.

Can It Be Prevented?

Since the bulk of infant torticollis is due to birth injury, the only preventive measure we can take now – according to doctors – is to encourage doctors to be gentle and careful during deliveries. And for the small portion caused by persistent lying down in the wrong position, make sure the child’s position is proper and check it frequently.

What Are the Allopathic Treatment Options?

If torticollis is present at birth, the only recommended treatment in allopathic (traditional) medicine is gentle stretching, followed by physical therapy when the infant is older. Surgery should not be considered until after the infant is four years old (some experts say one) and all other treatments have failed. Other treatments that can be tried up to age four include heat, traction, and massage therapy; medication, and routine periodic injections of botulinum toxin, which temporarily paralyzes the muscles causing the abnormal head tilt. None of these methods are guaranteed to work, including physical therapy.

What Are the Chiropractic Treatment Options?

Chiropractic medicine takes a holistic view of both the illness and the patient. The chief approaches, some of which overlap with those used by allopathic medicine, are adjustments of the spine, head, and neck. Adjustments to both the cranial bones and the soft tissues can be made. Chiropractors generally do not use medications but may offer supplements as an adjunct to treatment.

What About Surgery?

Allopathic physicians agree that surgery should be reserved for children over four (some experts say one) for whom all other treatments have failed. Only around 5% of children with torticollis are treated with surgery. The surgical technique varies, but the general aim is to lengthen the sternocleomastoid muscle, usually by cutting the fibrous internal mass which is often sound within the muscle. Most surgery is done with an open approach, but research for laparoscopic approaches is ongoing. The most common complication is hematoma (a collection of blood under the skin that results in a swelling.) A very few children may require more than one operation for the best cosmetic result.

What Is Chiropractic Treatment For Infantile Torticolis Like?

At the initial visit, the doctor will take a careful history of the child. If there is any doubt about the diagnosis, an order of any additional tests, such as an X-rays, may be needed. Once a diagnosis of infant torticollis is confirmed, and the degree of misalignment is determined, the doctor will use the appropriate cranioskeletal or other manipulation techniques to begin the process of treatment. Because the objective will be to correct any misalignment and relax or lengthen the muscle, immediate results cannot be expected. Muscles do not lengthen to normal from an abnormally contracted position instantly, and trying to move too fast risks injury or failure of the treatment, so several visits will be required.

Best Ways to Keep Your Kids Fit and Healthy

The influence that technology has had on people’s lives has been astounding. Mobile phones, gaming, online shopping and streaming has made people’s lives easier and more accessible than ever before. However, there has been a downside to this tech boom. Many children have swapped playing in the park or going out on their bikes for sitting at home on their computer consoles. It can make it hard as parents to get your kids fit and keep them exercising. Thankfully, there are some tips which might be able to help you.

You Don’t Need to Ban Computer Games

Your kids love playing computer games, and there is some research that suggests they can learn valuable skills from playing them. You don’t want to ban them from something they get a lot of pleasure from, so use the computer games as an incentive. Tell them that if they can start doing after school sports or going out with friends a couple of times a week, then they can have gaming time. If you get the ratio right, they won’t mind exercising if it means they get a day or a couple of hours a day to play games.

Limit their TV Opportunity

Most kids now have TV’s in their bedroom as well as in the sitting room and the office. It gives kids a lot of opportunities to simply sit down and watch whatever show is on at the time. If you limit the number of TV’s you have in the house, then you will be able to control how much they watch. You can also limit the number of hours they watch to an hour a night. It might seem harsh, but rather be a little harsh with their viewing, then trying to help them lose weight and get fitter later.

Make Exercise Part of the Routine

If you can get your kids to do things that also includes exercise, then you are well on the way to getting them fitter. Regular exercise will not only help them get fit, but it will also help to improve their mood if they are stressed with school. It can also help with any existing physical problems. You should, of course, speak to their doctor first, as they will need to assess the level of exercise they can do. With the rise in teenagers using opiates, it might also help to lessen their need if your teen takes them. Some of the ways you can encourage exercise is to let them take on a paper round if they are old enough or get them to walk to the shops or take their bike instead of driving them.

There is a fine line between allowing your children to take advantage of new technology and keeping them active and healthy. However, if you can try to get the balance right by setting boundaries and offering incentives, then there is no reason why they cannot do both and flourish.

The Fundamentals of Childhood Nutrition

There are a lot of things that parents need to know when it comes to keeping their young children healthy and happy. Most people having a startling lack of knowledge where nutrition is concerned, and it’s particularly crucial for parents to know what to feed their kids. The more you learn about childhood nutrition, the easier it will be for you ensure that your child grows up to be healthy and strong. Nutrition is especially important when a child is very young.

Vitamins and Minerals

You will find that vitamins and minerals are the foundation of childhood nutrition. You will need to make sure that your child gets all of the vitamins they need on a regular basis. Vitamin A is extremely important, as it plays an essential role in healthy growth and development. Vitamin C acts as a strong antioxidant to promote a strong immune system. Very young children naturally have weaker immune systems than older kids or adults, which is why they need this vitamin and others so badly.

Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are another important part of childhood nutrition as they are partially responsible for promoting healthy and normal brain function. School-age children are the ones who really need omega-3s, so you will need to keep that in mind. There are many different foods that are loaded with these healthy fatty acids, including certain fish, dark leafy greens, and flaxseed.

Drink Calories

People often neglect to factor in all of the calories they consume in liquid form, and you must also do this for your child. You will want to pay close attention to how many calories your child is consuming in the way of drinks as well as solid foods. Too much sugary juice every day can really add up after a while, so it’s all about moderation.

Snacks

There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving your child the occasional snack between meals, but you will only want to give them healthy foods like slices of fruits or vegetables. You should be able to find lots of foods that can make for a healthy but tasty snack to tide them over until the next meal.

Teenagers

If you have a teenager in the house, you will need to make sure that they get lots of vitamin C, iron and calcium. Your child is still growing, and the calcium will keep their bones strong. The teenage years can be quite hectic for everyone involved, but it’s imperative that you keep them on a healthy diet. Teenagers who are particularly active might benefit from taking a nutrient supplement of some kind so they get what their body needs to stay healthy as a whole.

Every parent should be constantly striving to learn more about childhood nutrition for the benefit of their kids. When you take the time to get this information, you will make yourself a better parent. The food that your child eats or doesn’t eat can have a dramatic effect on their development.