Torticollis and Scoliosis

Today we are going examine an underlying factor in the development and treatment of scoliosis and torticollis, and the connection to birth injuries to the upper neck.

Two medical doctors from Europe have done extensive research into upper neck problems in newborns and how that relates to the health of children. Dr. Gutmann was researching the connection all the way back to the 1960’s… in 1987 Dr. Gutmann published his research linking the upper neck to problems ranging from scoliosis to ear infections, torticollis, colic and many other common childhood conditions.

Dr. Biedermann also has published extensively on this subject and published his findings in 1992. Between the 2 medical researchers they have studied over 1000 newborns and have observed a very high incidence of upper cervical misalignments on x-ray. Gutmann found over 80% in his study had problems in the upper neck that needed to be addressed! Birth trauma was the most common cause. Forceps delivery, vacuum extraction and even just normal birthing methods with a woman flat on her back rather than in the standing position where gravity can work, can be an extremely traumatic experience for the head and neck of a newborn.

Birth Injuries, Torticollis, and Scoliosis

Many people with scoliosis will have a history of torticollis, as a baby.  It is reported that within the general population the incidence of Scoliosis is about 2.5% or about 25 per 1000 people. However, that is only the people who are identified as having scoliosis and it only includes those that have a 10 degree curvature or more. A 7,8, or 9 degree scoliosis can still have dramatic affects on the health of a person’s spine and body. Also many individuals have no idea that they have a curvature in their spine until adulthood. Patients can be examined who are in their 60’s and be totally unaware of a 10-15 degree scoliosis!

If the weight of the head is not balanced over the spinal column due to accidents and injuries to the upper neck this will result in postural changes including head tilt, shoulder tilt, hips uneven, and leg imbalance. The earlier the child develops this upper neck misalignment the more likely it is for them to develop a scoliosis when they hit their growth spurt.

The Solution

Early detection is the key to stopping the progression and possibly correct the scoliosis completely. All children should be evaluated after birth and regularly throughout the childhood years for the presence of an upper neck misalignment that could start this process in their spine. If a curvature is detected than the misalignment should be corrected as soon as possible. If the scoliosis is already very advanced due to lack of evaluation, than the misalignment should still be corrected and maintained and postural exercises should be given in order to prevent future progression. The longer the curvature has been there the more likely it will be to not correct completely.

If your child has a torticollis, or you’re concerned about the possibility of a scoliosis have their spine evaluated by an upper cervical specialist as soon as possible. To find a doctor near you go to www.upcspine.com or if you are in the Upland, California area to schedule a consultation,  just click the button below:

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Dr. Tymothy Flory, Dr. James Weiss and Dr. Jameson Wong of Atlas Spinal Care in Upland, California are Upper Cervical Specialists trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Their upper cervical clinic also serves Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora and surrounding areas. They are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on their website at http://www.atlasspinalcare.com/

References:

Biedermann H. Kinematic imbalances due to suboccipital strain in newborns. J. Manual Med (1992) 6:151-156.

Gutman, G. Blocked atlantal nerve syndrome in babies and infants. Manuelle Medizin, 1987, 25, pp. 5-10. and Gilles et al, Infantile Atlantooccipital Instability, Am J Dis Child 133:30-37, 1979