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From An Upper Cervical Chiropractic Perspective

Latest Articles from Dr. Zachary Ward - Life In Alignment Chiropractic, Lc - Auburn Hills MI

Category Archives: Chiropractic News

Upper cervical chiropractic and torticollis (congenital)?

Upper cervical chiropractic and torticollis (congenital)?

Does neck alignment matter in torticollis? Below is a story of Baby M who is currently undergoing care to improve her neck and body alignment to see if it will help her torticollis.

What is congenital torticollis

Not long after birth some babies develop a tilt of the head toward the right or left shoulder, and a rotation of the head away from that same shoulder. (See the historic image).

Many are diagnosed with congenital torticollis (fibromatosis colli), and it’s determined that the position of the head is locked due to a sudden and permanent spasm and scarring of a neck muscle called the SCM (sternocleidomastoid).

The reason for this happening isn’t known…

Baby M after her first upper cervical adjustment (right). Historic drawing of torticollis in a child (left).

Baby M arrived at Life In Alignment with a torticollis diagnosis, confirmed with testing that her right SCM had a lump of scar tissue that was forcing the muscle to contract.

I could feel it. Mom could feel it. The pediatrician could feel it. You could pick it up with your fingers and roll it around.

Her head was tilted to the right and rotated to the left. She had difficulty rotating her head to the right or looking straight ahead.

(The pics show Baby M after her first adjustment, where she is less likely to hold her head tilted or rotated.)

As a result of sleeping with her head rotated to the left, and head tipped right, she started showing signs of distortion in the skull.

In many cases, these babies are recommended for PT and that is a good idea. (Baby M is also being seen by a PT who works with her proprioceptive input system to remind her brain of where her head should be.)

Some are told to wait it out to see if the spasm and scar tissue spontaneously lets go…And some do let go.

But others end up in surgery.

Chiropractic assessment of an infant with congenital torticollis

Prior infant patient showing C-Shape of mild birth trauma.

When I examined Baby M, she was very tight below her right jaw and behind her right ear. That tension traveled down to her right upper chest, and right upper back.

There was a lot of resistance when trying to rotate her head to the right.

She showed the posture of many babies with mild birth trauma: she would not lay relaxed and straight with her knees slightly apart. Rather, she would hike up her right hip and pull down her right shoulder and lay in C-shape toward her right, head rotated left.

Whenever she was straightened out of this position, she immediately returned to it.

Light pressure with guided movements of my hand released Baby M below her right ear at her upper neck. Very, very gently.

She was then turned over to the other side, and a light release was accomplished on her left skull.

Immediately she relaxed out of the C-shape, and she even rotated her head to the right for a moment. The test would be to see if the muscle bundle in her SCM began to relax over the coming weeks.

The following day Mom texted to let me know that Baby M slept all day. Not usual for her! A good sign of healing.

Baby M has shrinking/relaxing of scar tissue in her SCM

Releasing the restricted shoulder after the neck relaxed.

Baby M came back a few days later and caught me by surprise on how quickly the muscle responded.

The obvious muscle bundle you could feel and even pick up and roll around in your fingers had begun to let go. The SCM was relaxing. It was still present, but it was remarkably less.

The only thing different Baby M had experienced in the prior day was to have her upper cervical spine balanced.

Baby M was no longer laying in the C-shape to the right, but was willing to relax on her back, legs balanced, knees slightly apart.

With the constant contraction of her right SCM and head tilt, I found her upper shoulder was locked on the front and back. She had plenty of mobility in her left shoulder, but clearly showed resistance in her right.

Baby M was laid on her belly and her right upper thoracic spine was gently released with a sustained hold and then a tap of an instrument. Now her thoracic spine was moving again.

Baby M will continue to receive some PT to help her brain reconnect with her right shoulder since the muscle was contracted for so long.

Mom just let me know that the pediatrician confirmed that the scar tissue is getting softer and is already half its size. This is good.

It appears that Baby M is on the road toward a “spontaneous” resolution of her torticollis with a little bit of help from some friends.

Three millimeters to headache freedom?

Three millimeters to headache freedom?

Many cases of chronic and recurring head pain (like tension head ache, migraine, etc.) are treated by focusing on the head…Where the pain appears to be. But many cases of chronic headache may actually be stemming from biomechanical problems in the neck and deserve to have an evaluation from a chiropractic provider, especially one with… Continue Reading

Upper cervical procedures for migraine headache?

Upper cervical procedures for migraine headache?

There is growing evidence that all patients with migraines should be evaluated by an upper cervical chiropractor using upper cervical procedures. See the other articles in this series, Is my migraine actually a migraine? and Migraine treatments, from natural to alternative. Why examine the neck for migraine head pain? In many patients with migraine and… Continue Reading

Treatment options for my migraine?

Treatment options for my migraine?

What are the most common treatments options for migraine? This article covers the most popular, from pharmaceutical options to alternative treatments. What is migraine? Migraine is a condition associated with periods of moderate to severe head pain (in most cases), and also nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Answers to some of the… Continue Reading

Is my migraine actually a migraine? Migraine symptoms versus other primary headache

Is my migraine actually a migraine? Migraine symptoms versus other primary headache

Many people with headaches wonder: what makes a migraine a migraine? What makes migraines different from other causes of headache? Migraine is one of the most common disorders causing head pain Migraine is one of the most common recurring disorders which create head pain. Migraines affect over 15% of the population with over 35 million… Continue Reading

Why Patients Love Our Chiropractic Care

Upper cervical chiropractic at Life In Alignment is different. And different is good.

Fewer adjustments

Fewer adjustments

There are common patterns to spinal breakdown that must be corrected for the best changes in symptoms. We focus on the areas that get the most return on your investment.

Results you can see

Results you can see

All healing takes time. But outside evidence of positive inside changes should be quick in coming. View images from the before and after gallery to see what kind of results you might be able to see in your own spine.

What you need meets what you want

What you need meets what you want

Relief care, corrective care, or long term wellness.Find out what it's going to take for each, and then pick the plan that fits your goals, budget, and lifestyle.
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