Torticollis in an infant is caused by the contraction and shortening of the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle, producing flexion and rotation of the head and neck, and if left untreated may cause craniofacial asymmetry.
Various causes have been identified and include:
- Stretching of theSCMduring delivery, resulting in development of a pseudo -tumour
- Restriction of the upper neck fromin-utero positioning or froma difficult birth
- Pressure on the spinal cord caused by a spinal tumour (this is a relatively uncommon cause)
Studies have shown cervical spine involvement in up to 50% of cases of congenital torticollis.
Chiropractic management of torticollis, using a combination of spinal adjustments, cranial realignment and soft tissue therapy, can produce rapid resolution in many cases.
Whilst torticollis has a classical presentation, two other more common presentations are a persistent head tilt or rotation due to restriction of the upper neck joints and a baby who constantly arches their neck and/or spine as a result of jamming at the base of the skull. Both these problems respond very well to chiropractic treatment.