What is Torticollis?

Torticollis is a condition with a cranial, spinal and muscular component involvement. The side of shortened length always has a misaligned temporal bone, cervical spine Atlas (C1) and Axis (C2) fixation (rotation/flexion) and shortening of the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle.

The SCM muscle is in a holding pattern, it is reflexively short as a result of the cranial bone called the temporal bone being out-of-alignment.

The neck itself almost always is also involved with the C1 and or C2 vertebrae of the cervical spine being rotated out of alignment, furthering the misalignment of the temporal bone and further shortening and tightening other muscles of the neck.

Treatment of Torticollis:

Gentle effective care of Craniosacral Therapy can help release muscles that are in a shortened state. The SCM muscle can relax with the movement of fluid into that area. As a reflex the neck relaxes, and the spine relaxes. Torticollis improves.

Misalignment as in Torticollis

Misalignment as in Torticollis

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle

SCM muscle origin, insertion, action

SCM muscle origin, insertion, action

Bones of the cranium, temporal bone

Bones of the cranium, temporal bone

The primary and most significant issue is the cranial misalignment, which often also includes plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome).

Symptoms of Torticollis

Craniosacral Therapy For Torticollis Treatment in NYC

Although signs and symptoms of torticollis can vary, many individuals display similar symptoms. Below are the most common signs and symptoms infants and young children show, which include:

  • Inability to latch on for feeding
  • Painful breastfeeding for mom
  • Flat head on one side, Plagiocephaly
  • Constantly leaning the head in only one direction
  • Awkward chin position pointing sideways
  • Neck muscle stiffness, neck looks longer on one side
  • Muscle swelling in neck may be present after birth

Torticollis In Infants

During the birthing process the parietal bones fold over the frontal and occipital bones and between the temporal bones temporarily during vaginal delivery and passage into the world. However, during delivery, the baby’s head may not fully inflate, or inflate unevenly leaving the newborn with an undetected misaligned cranium or Plagiocephaly. Untreated, imperfect expression of health, such as torticollis, then often becomes evident immediately or later in life.

Torticollis In Toddlers, Children and Teenagers

If Torticollis has never before been evident there is a chance it is a recently developed symptom. Young people do also store unprocessed, unresolved emotion, negative experiences and physical / mental trauma. These incidents affect the nervous and energetic system of the body creating holding patterns that tighten specific groups of muscles causing the presentation of torticollis.

Undiagnosed Cranial Involvement

In Torticollis, the temporal bone on the shorter neck side is usually always involved. It is rotated out of its proper alignment causing the shortening of some neck muscles, specifically the Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle.

Signs of Torticollis

The tell – tell signs to look for is head and facial asymmetry.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is one ear sticking out more than the other?
  • Is the ear on one side higher than the other?
  • Is the forehead uneven?
  • Is one eye lower than the other?
  • Does one eye look smaller than the other?
  • Does the mouth look symmetrical?
  • Does one side of the head look flatter than the other?
  • Does the baby’s head / face look uneven?
  • Is feeding time a difficult task?
  • Does the baby have difficulty latching on during feeding?

If the answer is yes to any of the questions above, your child may have Torticollis.

Torticollis Treatment

Chiropractic care and Craniosacral Therapy treatment for Torticollis with Dr. Kaminsky can help reverse Torticollis when approached correctly with exact in-office sessions. With appropriate and skilled hands-on treatments and recommendations for home care, complete torticollis reversal is possible and attainable.

Parental home-care activities shown in the office by Dr. Kaminsky will add-on therapeutic value decreasing the needed in-office visits. 

Other Difficulties

Feeding time can be a challenge for the mother. Either the baby cannot affectively latch on to the breast, and or bottle feeding seems labored. These are further indicators of cranial misalignment and hence torticollis.

During feeding if the baby is successful in latching on to the nipple, it is painful for the mother and often becomes emotionally and physically draining discouraging this natural process.

If you suspect your child of having torticollis or have been diagnosed by your pediatrician, there is no reason to wait. Left uncorrected, it may become a focal point of compensatory physical / physiological changes and adaptation throughout life. Less than optimal expression of health may happen.

Torticollis is correctable, treatable and manageable. Call Dr. Kaminsky and schedule a Telephone or In-Office consultation with your child.

About Dr. Kaminsky & Craniosacral Therapy

Dr. Kaminsky is a 1999 graduate of the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic. He is licensed to practice in NY and has completed close to three thousand hours of professional continuing education since becoming licensed in March of 2000.

The primary approach used in his office is Craniosacral Therapy (CST) which is a method focusing on the cranium (head) and sacrum (a large bone at the base of the spine) scientifically proven to control life sustaining fluid flow throughout the body.

Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on manual therapy approach that brings about healing via the fluidity of the body. The existence of the Craniosacral System was first discovered by Osteopath Dr. William Sutherland in the early 1900’s, calling it Cranial Osteopathy.  And later rediscovered, validated, and developed by Dr. John Upledger in the late 70’s early 80’s, who renamed it Craniosacral Therapy after doing five years of research at the Michigan State University, School of Medicine. In 1983 Dr. John, as he was fondly called, established a teaching institute in Palm Beach, Florida, to teach this cranial sacral method to all healthcare providers. The Upledger Institute is still very active today.

The craniosacral mechanism pumps fluid which is produced in the brain, called cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF), through the fascial network of the body, the purpose of which is to lubricate joints, muscles, organs, all cells and all tissues. It is the driving life force for your body’s systems to function properly, CSF also carries healing properties to bodily traumas, injuries and past surgeries.

The proper function of your cranial sacral mechanism, via CSF flow, maintains the normal tone of your muscles, provide nutrients to your organs, and keeps you out of pain. It sustains human life and allows your nervous system to stay responsive to challenges of daily living and your mind-body life experiences. The better your craniosacral mechanism functions, the better the flow of this life sustaining fluid, the better your body can handle physical and emotional stress. The uninhibited flow of this fluid throughout your body allows you to thrive, opposite of survival mode.

CSF is part of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) brain and spinal cord), which is physically encapsulated within the dural membranes of the spine and head.

One of the functions inside of your brain is to automatically generate energetic rhythmic impulses that function to pump CSF throughout your body, regulating your peripheral nerves, nervous system and organ systems, which in turn, sustain your function (physiology) and life. It is an important force that maintains everything functioning in your body. This is what we call the Craniosacral System, or Craniosacral Mechanism. It is the hydraulic, energetic and rejuvenating system of your body.

This measurable life force of moving fluid is palpable to a trained craniosacral therapist, like the heart rhythm, pulse rhythm, breathing rate, that can all be felt, so too can the Cranial Sacral Rhythm (CSR) be palpated and measured. It is the foundational diagnostic tool in real-time used to evaluate your current state of well-being (or lack thereof), and potential for health improvement and healing.

Compromises of your rhythmic impulse, correlates to CSF flow restrictions in the system which the body is unable to self-correct or overcome on its own. This is the reason why over time we develop pain, dis-ease, symptoms, conditions, mind-body disconnect and basically all human physical and psychological ailments.

When the fluid isn’t flowing optimally, your bodily rejuvenation is affected, and this is where the skill of an experienced craniosacral therapist becomes valuable. By placing his or her hands on your body, most commonly on your head and sacrum, for diagnostic purposes, the practitioner can detect, feel, evaluate, and rate the SSQAR (strength, symmetry, quality, amplitude, rate) of the rhythm; then bring forth correction of any limitations with subsequent experienced hand placements on different parts the body during a session.

A craniosacral therapist helps your rhythm reset, restore and renew allowing for healing to take place of the mind-body connection, musculoskeletal tightness and spasms, neurological deficits, autoimmune issues, organ function, many common conditions, and of course pain. Through a practitioners properly focused and attuned touch, your body is facilitated to release channels of fluid stagnation and flow restriction, which ultimately breakthrough, overcome and improve CSR and the function of vital fluid flow.

Dr. Alex Kaminsky is an advanced practitioner of Craniosacral therapy, having studied up to advanced levels including SER and pediatric courses. He has built a solid foundation with many years of experience, treating babies, children and adults.

To learn more, visit the other pages on this website. Call to schedule your appointment with Dr. Kaminsky.