“My neck has locked!!” is a common complaint at this time of year. The cooler weather brings different aches, pains and injuries. Many people are waking up with a “locked” neck. This sudden onset of neck pain seemingly has no cause. Generally, you will be unable to turn one direction, your head is twisted to one side, with pain and muscle spasm. The condition is known as torticollis or wry neck.
Chiropractic care can help ease the pain and spasm of torticollis. Restoring joint range of motion to your neck. You will also be prescribed gentle movement exercises to aid your recovery between treatments. Torticollis usually resolves within one week. Your chiropractor will also talk to you about possible causes to help prevent future episodes.
It is important that you try to keep your head and neck moving. Take it slowly and turn until you just start to feel pain. Do NOT push into the pain. It is natural to want to guard the area and hold it perfectly still. Unfortunately, this allows the neck to “lock-up” even more.
In newborns, torticollis is common and can be due to the position of the head in the womb, the birth process or intervention such as forceps delivery. It can take up to 3 months to develop after birth. Parents normally find it quite upsetting to see their baby with a tilted head or difficulty turning or feeding. It is quite a common condition, with some studies reporting torticollis to affect every 3 in 100 babies.
Chiropractors do a thorough assessment of your newborn before discussing treatment options with you. Treatment normally consists of gentle mobilisations (no high-velocity chiropractic adjustments), gentle stretches and muscle releases. You will be given some exercises and activities to do at home with your newborn or infant to encourage their range of motion. Without treatment, your infant’s torticollis can last up to 6 months.