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Whenever we hear the word torticollis we think that it is a nuisance that affects only adults, but it is not true. Babies can also develop congenital torticollis, the one that occurs from birth or the days after delivery, or the acquired one, derived from an abuse of the lying position on the back. What to do to remedy it? Which is the treatment to cure torticollis in newborn babies?
The objective of the physiotherapy and osteopathic treatment is to find a muscular and joint symmetry, which allows a good postural alignment, in order to achieve a correct psychomotor development.
1. The osteopath will evaluate the cranial sutures, rebalance joint, cranial, and visceral movement, and restore the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid.
2. Through the sensitivity of his hands, he will look for areas where there are movement restrictions or there is a lack of blood supply or nerve compression, and he will relax the tensions that he finds in the different tissues.
3. You will pay special attention to the occipital bone, in case you find any flattening or tension, be it bone, muscular or membranous. This bone is key in the treatment of torticollis in newborn babies, since the XI cranial nerve or Spinal Nerve is usually irritated in this area. This nerve will innervate the sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscles, which are responsible for the stiff neck.
4. It will also check the spinal column as a whole: the shoulder girdle, which suffers tension and stretching at the time of delivery of the shoulders in childbirth, and the respiratory, digestive system and the pelvis, since this area compensates the tensions of the skull and neck.
5. Finally, you will check the baby suction to see if it is harmonic and the position when receiving the food.
Both prevention and torticollis treatment it should start as soon as possible. From the 15 days of the baby or even before, if we have already realized it. This does not usually "fix itself" and, if we let it, it can impair a child's coordination and motor skills.
In addition to the treatment that the child must follow with the physiotherapist, it is recommended that parents also perform exercises at home to advance their healing.
- Whenever possible focus on active movement
This is more beneficial than passive stretching. For example, try talking to the baby and placing auditory and tactile visual stimuli in the room from the side to which it is difficult to rotate the neck.
- Alternate the arm with which we usually catch him
Both for feeding - when breastfeeding on the side of the torticollis it is important to advance the nipple so that it latches on better - and when carrying it.
- Avoid having them in hammocks or maxicosis
Whenever possible, better carry them, trying to keep the baby's head turned to the difficult side. Carrying helps the baby to adapt to different postures and decreases the time the skull is supported, which prevents plagiocephaly. It also favors stabilization of the head faster and stimulates muscles, balance and coordination.
- Try to turn him upside down
Carry out this action every day for a little while and always do it under our supervision.
The work at home of the parents is as important or more than that of the physio and osteopath. They are the ones who spend the most time with the baby and their work will be essential to achieve the goals they have set.
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