Torticollis, Laser Therapy, and Chiropractic Care… In a Giraffe?!

Torticollis, also known as wryneck, is a twisting of the neck that results in the neck getting “stuck” in an odd angle. Traditional torticollis will cause the head to rotate and tilt to one side, frequently causing pain, loss of motion, loss of balance, and other musculoskeletal symptoms.There are two types of torticollis: congenital and acquired.

Congenital torticollis occurs at birth, and is commonly seen among first born children.  Injury to the neck muscles is believed to stem from intrauterine positioning, as the baby may be placed in an awkward position if he/she outgrows the womb.  Frequently, congenital torticollis will accompany hip dislocation, and requires further evaluation after the baby is delivered.Acquired torticollis is suspected to originate when the nerves of the cervical (neck) spine are injured with trauma or repetitive, vigorous movements. Even though trauma appears to be the most common cause of acquired torticollis, the official cause is unknown.  Sleeping in an improper position, anxiety, whiplash injuries, and injuries such as burns that cause the skin to shrink around the neck can also contribute to acquired torticollis. Pain and restricted movement are the most common symptom related to torticollis. Treatment for torticollis varies between practitioners, depends on the patient’s age, pain threshold, preference, and severity. Ultrasound, physical therapy, surgery, and botox injections are common treatments when patients are experiencing symptoms related to torticollis.At The Hayden Institute, we help patients with torticollis with gentle chiropractic care, Quantum Neurology rehabilitation with low level laser therapy (light therapy), and specific brain balancing exercises in order to support the injured areas involved. 

It appears that we are not the only ones to treat individuals experiencing torticollis with effective techniques, such as chiropractic care and laser therapy.  “Despite initial medical management, the giraffe developed marked neck sensitivity, focal muscle spasms, and decreased cervical range of motion,” reports The Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. Through the use of specific chiropractic manipulation, laser therapy, and specific neck exercises, the giraffe was able to overcome the symptoms associated with acquired torticollis.

Occasionally patients share stories about friends they think should come into the office, but won’t because they “do not believe in chiropractic” or believe in other complementary and alternative medicine techniques. This is a great example that demonstrates the benefit of chiropractic care, coupled with laser therapy in order to overcome the symptoms of torticollis, regardless of the patient’s belief system.

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