Torticollis is a condition that involves a twisted neck that causes the head to tip to one side, with the chin turned to the opposite side, a condition that can be inherited, brought on by genetic changes; developed because of damage to the spine, muscles or the nervous system. Torticollis may develop in adulthood or childhood, in which case it’s called Congenital Torticollis, meaning it was apparent at birth, it is caused when the infant’s head was in the wrong position while developing in the womb or the blood supply to the neck has been altered or the muscles injured.
Spasmodic Torticollis (Cervical Dystonia)
Spasmodic Torticollis is an extremely painful condition that causes the neck muscles to involuntarily contract, causing the head to turn or twist to one side. Spasmodic Torticollis can also cause the head to involuntarily tilt backward or forward. Although medical research hasn’t been able to determine the specific cause of Spasmodic Torticollis, recent studies have indicated the likelihood that the condition is in many cases is trauma induced (mild concussion to the head, neck and/or upper back,). In some pediatric cases, the cervical injury can be caused during the birthing process, especially if the umbilical cord was wrapped around the infant’s neck or suction or forceps are used during delivery. Cervical Dystonia can develop immediately or in many cases take months or even years to show up.
Torticollis that is brought on by damage to the spine, muscles or nervous system is usually treated by first determining the actual cause of the disorder if possible. Conventional medical treatment can include:
- Applying heat and massage to the cervical spine can help relieve neck and head pain.
- Neck braces and stretching exercises to reduce muscle spasms.
- Medications including the anticholinergic drug baclofen.
- Botulinum toxin injections which can provide temporary relief, however it involves several injections.
- If the Torticollis is due to the vertebrae being dislocated, surgery of the spine might be required, often involving doing damage to some of the nerves in the neck muscles and brain stimulation.
Noninvasive Natural Torticollis Treatment
In most cases, Torticollis can be successfully relieved without drugs or surgery with upper cervical chiropractic care. The focus of upper cervical is to restore normal alignment, noninvasively. The upper cervical chiropractic approach is very gentle without any the popping, cracking or twisting of the spine, common with other manipulative approaches. The number of adjustments needed varies depending on the severity of the injury and the symptoms. While many Torticollis sufferers remember the traumas that may have caused the injury like falls, car accidents or head injuries, some don’t which often requires more testing.
The main objective of upper cervical chiropractic care is to reverse the trauma triggered upper neck injury, reducing irritation to the injured central nervous system (spinal cord and brain). The initial visit to the upper cervical chiropractor generally consists of a spinal exam along with diagnostic tests including X-rays. Postural examination, thermography and other testing may be required in order to assess whether or not an upper cervical injury is present and if upper cervical chiropractic care can be beneficial. Once the examination and diagnostic tests are complete the upper cervical doctor will determine the best plan of care. In most cases, patients who have upper cervical chiropractic care notice an improvement in Torticollis symptoms within the first few days or weeks of treatment.
To find an upper cervical specialist in your area go to www.upcspine.com or if you are in the Redwood City California area to schedule your NUCCA evaluation, click the button below:
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Dr. Pete Tsiglieris of Advanced Spinal Care in Redwood City, California is an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). His upper cervical clinic also serves San Mateo, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Carlos, and Sunnyvale. They are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraines and other headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, back pain and shoulder pain and weakness. More information can be found on our website at http://www.bayareanuccacare.com/