Monday, June 23, 2014

torticollis AKA twisted neck

If you are like me, I had never heard of torticollis before Nash was diagnosed with it.

Let me educate you….

According to WebMD…...
"Torticollis, also known as "wryneck," (literally means "twisted neck" in Latin) is a condition in which your baby's head is tilted. One of your newborn's neck muscles is shortened. So the chin points to one shoulder, away from the shortened neck muscle. And the back of the head tilts toward the opposite shoulder."

At Nash's 2 month appointment our pediatrician looked at Nash's head shape just like they do at every appointment.  She didn't seem too concerned, but she did say, "If I had to point anything out, this side might look a little flat."  She also asked me if he preferred to keep his head turned to the right, since the right side was the side that looked a little flat.  I had absolutely no idea.  I hadn't thought to notice because we had just spent the last 6 weeks dealing with the diaper rash from hell. 
After that doctor's appointment I really started to notice that he did in fact always have his head turned to the right.  I even went back and looked at pictures and sure enough he definitely had a preferred side.  
We were still a ways a way from our 4 month check up so I decided to chat with a friend who is an OT about it to see what she thought I should do.  She recommended that we start physical therapy because he probably had torticollis.  I'm so thankful for her advice and helping me get the ball rolling with going to physical therapy.  Sure enough she was right.  Nash has torticollis.
We had our initial evaluation on May 15th and began weekly therapy on May 27th.  We have been going for about 5 weeks now and are seeing some improvement.  Hopefully we will move to every other week soon and then graduate from therapy with a straight neck and strong muscles.
Our weekly therapy sessions are 30 minutes long.  Our therapist first takes measurements of his head tilt and range of motion to see if there has been any improvement then she does all of his stretches and exercises with him.  These are two of the stretches that I have to do with him at home 5 times a day for at least 30 seconds at a time.

 I don't always find the time to do these stretches 5 times a day but I do the best I can.
 It's such a pain to have to do these stretches daily and go to therapy weekly, but I have to remind myself that this is such a minute little thing.  It's totally fixable and we won't be doing therapy forever.  Overall we have a happy healthy little boy……he just has a twisted neck…..for now!!


Dana Bowen said...

Charlie had torticollis. We did therapy too because it delayed all of his gross motor skills. We did a helmet too. Not the doc band because our insurance didn't cover it. The company we used wasn't great and they graduated him out too early and his head went flat again :/. It's not too bad, but frustrating after we went through all the trouble. Anyways message me with any questions cause I've been there :)


Christina said...

Two friends had babies with torticollis. Before knowing there was a problem the babies could only nurse on one side which caused them to dry up pretty quickly. It was devastating for each of them especially b/c had they known there was a problem and were able to receive therapy early, then nursing may have been successful. It seems you guys haven't had a problem nursing which is a blessing. Hang in there he'll be in great shape soon enough.

Alisa said...

So glad you discovered Nash had this issue and have a plan for correcting it. The comment from your friend about it affecting gross motor skills was interesting. Never thought about that but it makes perfect sense that motor skills could be affected also.

Julie said...

I always thought that the stretches were a pain in the neck (haha at my cheesy pun!), but in all seriousness the stretches you do at home are way more beneficial than 30 minutes of therapy once a week. Keep up the good work! If you keep at it, he'll be better in no time :)