Archive for September, 2011

San Diego Chiropractor Help Patients With Torticollis

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
It happens to everyone; the experience of waking up with neck pain is remarkably debilitating. Medically known as adult torticollis, this condition occurs more frequently than you think and is profoundly annoying. You go to bed feeling fine, and you wake up unable to turn your head without pain. There are some common things that cause this condition, and some simple things you can do to ease your suffering.

Overnight you have little control over the circumstances in which you sleep. You may unintentionally place your head in an abnormal position. The temperature may drop and cause neck muscles to spasm. Unusual activities the day before may have put a strain on your neck. Regardless of the exact source, you wake up with muscles that have tightened to the point of immobility. When the muscles lock up, they cause the facet joints of the vertebrae to jam against one another. The small muscles that control movement along these joints get tighter and the cycle repeats itself. It becomes a vicious circle until you get the neck muscles to relax.

Among one of the more common forms of neck pain, torticollis, also known as wry neck, is when one's neck feels stiff and experiences spasms that make the neck tilt to one side. Torticollis can be either congenital or acquired, with the former being somewhat rarer compared to the latter. It is often diagnosed in very young children but there have been cases of it presenting in adults who were probably not diagnosed in their youth. The most common treatment given for congenital torticollis is physical therapy that allows the affected area to be stretched, strengthened, and handled. 

If you catch the problem right at the beginning, you will have a better chance of a quick solution. Ice and anti-inflammatory medications will help combat the pain and inflammation for the first 24 hours.  If the spasm remains active for more than 48 hours, you may want to consider physical therapy, massage, and chiropractic. A chiropractor is trained in maintaining proper range of motion and function in your muscles and joints. With a variety of passive and isometric exercises, a chiropractor can help your neck muscles "reset" and resume full motion. 

A normal course of chiropractic treatment for torticollis involves 3-4 sessions. Overtime, the joints and muscles will return to place and relax. Barring an unusual trigger, almost all cases of torticollis are resolved successfully in a matter of a couple of weeks, at the most. While very painful and generally annoying, torticollis or neck pain isn't a serious situation. It is important to correct torticollis early on so as to avoid any facial asymmetry or undue lingering neck pain.