My Torticollis resolution course prevents neurological challenges

Uncategorized May 29, 2020

When I graduated as a doctor of chiropractic 20 years ago, I knew right away that I wanted to specialize in the care of babies and kids. I resonated with the idea that the spine is the absolute foundation for health, because it houses the nervous system.  Focusing on the spine and nervous system from the moment of birth, is therefore only logical instead of waiting until the presentation of health challenges.

As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. 

Twenty years ago, when I first started doing this work, the rate of torticollis in babies born in the U S was less than 5% .  Today in 2020, it's estimated that 25% (this may be an underestimate) of babies are born with torticollis. There are a few reasons for this, which we very much address in our practice and in our online course.  

Torticollis largely goes unnoticed and unaddressed.  When it is addressed, the way we traditionally go about it is by addressing the aesthetic “look” of torticollis by simply treating it as postural distortion, while completely overlooking the neurological ramifications. 

When a baby has torticollis, they're born with a rotated head and neck as well as a tilt.  Often, this goes unnoticed for the first 4 weeks or so.  Parents may notice that we see as a very and contracted sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle. The traditional approach with physical therapy and in pediatric offices is to stretch the muscle, surgically cut the muscle or to put the child in a torticollis collar.


The reality is that this particular muscle receives all of its nervous system information from the brain itself. And so unlike a lot of the other muscles in the body that received their information primarily from spinal nerves, this particular muscle receives its information directly from a cranial nerve directly from the brain. Because of that, when we have a tightening or a shortening of this particular muscle at birth, it’s actually indicative of a problem which is neurological in nature.  If these neurological concerns aren't addressed properly, it can mean layer upon layer of challenges down the road.   Simply addressing the aesthetic concerns with the above mentioned techniques may result in the appearance of a straight neck and head where the implication becomes that the child is well and that there is no need for further concern.  This is a false assumption.

The challenge with that is that there are specific issues and dysfunctions that can show up down the line and it's important to address those before they occur.  These may include motor coordination problems, delayed developmental milestones, sensory integration problems like texture sensitivities, food aversions, ADD and ADHD, oppositional defiance disorders, Tourettes, etc…

Mis-shappened craniums and flattened skulls are also commonly found with torticollis.  Presently, the popular approach is to address this problem purely based on the aesthetics.  The use of cranial helmets and torticollis collars is on the rise. 

The bones of the cranium are flat bones and they connect a form joints very much like any other joint in the body except that these joints are called sutures. Every time a child breathes in, those joints are meant to open and every time they breathe out, they're meant to close. The opening and closing of those cranial sutures, which we have many of,  creates a pump that sends very important fluid, cerebral spinal fluid down the spinal cord where another pump at the base of the spine then pumps it back up. This serves to lubricate and cooling the nervous system and the spinal cord, which is essential to proper neurological function. If we address cranial distortions simply by addressing the aesthetics, we are bypassing the neurological dysfunction connected to those distortions. 

Torticollis is also very often related to breastfeeding problems which may present as tongue and lip tie.  A proper assessment of the spine and cranium must be done prior to the surgical correction of what may be a false tongue or lip tie.  

Torticolllis can be related to hip problems. Pelvic distortions or hip dysplasia are possible findings that that must be assessed properly. 

I've spent a good portion of the last 10 to 15 years delving into torticollis.  If 25% of children are born with torticollis and this issue is not being addressed properly, it gives me grave concern in terms of what this looks like for the state of our global functioning in the long term. 

Having worked with parents for the past 20 years, what I know is despite often being told that their children will outgrow the torticollis, parents of children with torticollis are usually extremely concerned.  

Intrinsically, moms and dads very much know that something isn't quite right, despite the lack of awareness form those around them. 

Part of my purpose is to educate parents, to educate the community at large and to educate medical community, including our pediatricians, our midwives, our lactation consultants as to the neurological effects of torticollis.   When handled properly, the outcomes for children are promising and parents can rest well, knowing that their child’s health and infinite potential have been restored.

If you feel your baby may be suffering torticollis, I have a course which will give you the skills and advice you need - “How to Fully Resolve Torticollis in Your Baby”

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