Posted on 06-03-2011
This week I had the pleasure of taking care of a five month old boy who was already starting to recover from severe torticollis and positional plagiocephaly. To translate, it means that his neck was in a spasm that had his head turned to one side. As a result of not being able to move his neck and head and always laying in the same position, the cranial bones had flattened on one part of his head. He was diagnosed several months ago and had already been through a lot of physical therapy, which consisted of a lot of stretching and putting toys in a position that would have him turn his head to the sides.
His mom had read a previous blog post about how I have helped other babies with torticollis and read about CranioSacral Therapy and Laser Acupuncture, and brought him in for evaluation and treatment. He had just recently been fitted with a helmet to help reshape his cranial bones as well.
How would Laser Acupuncture help Torticollis and Positional Plagiocephaly?
Acupuncture is a system of evaluating and treating energetic imbalances in the body. There are different pathways in the body, known as meridians, where energy travels. Each meridian is associated with organs, body functions, and different body parts. For example, the heart meridian travels from the armpit to the pinky finger. You could have an imbalance in the heart meridian that is associated with heart problems, emotional stress, or hand, wrist, arm, elbow, or upper arm problems. Just because you have an imbalance in the heart meridian, it does not automatically mean that you have a heart organ problem. You could have a sprained wrist with ligaments that are injured that just happen to course along that meridian.
These meridians also travel up the neck and along the back, and can be impacted when someone has torticollis which has the sternocleidomastoid muscle (also referred to as SCM muscle) in spasm, which causes the head to tilt and rotate.
In my office, I evaluate patient's acupuncture meridians with a tool called Acugraph. The Acugraph program measures the energy in the acupuncture meridians so that I can see exactly where the body's energy system is out of balance. With adults, I would typically use acupuncture needles to treat these imbalances, but in children and babies, I use laser for obvious reasons. I will also use laser with adults that are too afraid of needles.
By balancing the meridians that have too low, too high, or just imbalanced energy flow, many times I see symptoms in the body dramatically improve. I use the Acugraph at each visit to track improvement and changes along the way, as well as to always be giving my patients an accurate, up-to-date treatment protocol.
How would CranioSacral therapy help torticollis and positional plagiocephaly?
CranioSacral Therapy is a treatment that helps unwind soft tissue injuries and tightness, and can help relax patients that are feeling really stressed emotionally, physically, or mentally.
CranioSacral Therapy also helps release the cell memory of your body, which stores the memory of old traumas in your cellular tissue, which keeps your body from fully healing. It can be used on the cranial bones of the head, but also on the spinal vertebra, and muscles including the diaphragms of the body. Did you know that you have more than one diaphragm in your body? It's not just the one that helps you breathe (the respiratory diaphragm). There is also the pelvic diaphragm which plays a role in preventing incontinence and pelvic pain, but that is an entirely different blog article!
When I have treated torticollis patients in the past, I always find that there is a lot of torsion and misalignment in their body in the occipital bone (base of the skull), the neck, the upper back, and the spine and muscles between the scapula (shoulder blades). Unwinding and releasing this twisting and misalignment takes pressure off the nervous system and the muscles, allowing them to relax and return to normal function. Range of motion improves and pain decreases. Both CranioSacral Therapy and Chiropractic Adjustments can help in this process.
What if my Doctor said there is nothing that can be done for my baby's torticollis?
Your Doctor may not know that CranioSacral Therapy, Laser Acupuncture and Chiropractic can all make a huge difference and in many cases help completely resolve the torticollis. No Doctor can know about every possible therapy for every health condition. I really appreciate it when patients have done a lot of research themselves about all of the possible health care solutions for their problems. Educating patients and having them be empowered about their health is one of my big commitments in my practice.
Do all Chiropractors work on children and infants?
Just like the other medical and healing professions, there are Chiropractors that are specialists in different age groups, fitness levels, and techniques. It is important to find a Chiropractor that is comfortable and experienced with treating children and infants, to ensure that your child gets the best possible care. I have a special place in my heart for treating newborns, infants, and children. I also have a lot of experience making their visits to my office a lot of fun.
If you or someone you care about could benefit from this information, please pass this along to them. As always, feel free to call if you have any questions.
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Dr. Kristine Baker
I have started hanivg major back pain, mainly in my lower back, but have never been to a doctor for it. Unfortunately in high school I chose to march a tuba in band for three years straight about 20-25 hrs. a week. I am only 4'10 and 105 lbs. Also, I am a waitress and I have to carry 50-60 lb. trays all day full of food. I have tried taking advil, tylenol w/codeine, ibuprofen- everything, even stonger stuff. Nothing has worked, except for my father's vicodin which he lets me take on occasion. I want to go to the doctor and have him help me with this problem, but I don't want to come off as a drug-addicted young person begging for pills, but so far vicodin is the only thing that has seemed to do the trick. And I don't like going to the chiropractor, I just feel uncomfortable with someone touching my back and it cures the pain for a day then it comes back. So I don't know how to tell the doc that I can't get physical help with it.I dont really believe in taking pills, but lately vicodin has been wonderful to me. What do doctors usually prescribe or recommend for back pain? What do I do?oh I'm 20 by the way
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After just one session of Acupuncture and a Chiropractic Adjustment my pain level immediately began to reside and I had a renewed sense of hope. I really could not believe it. Dr. Kristine had already started giving me back my life.
You did it again! I feel like a million bucks! I truly feel like I get my "money's worth" when you treat me. Not only do you treat the problem at hand but you go the extra mile to do some preventative work.
Dr. Baker is my miracle. Her caring ways and knowledgeable hands have helped me when no one else would. When I moved away from the area, I tried another acupuncturist and did not get as good results as with Dr. Baker. She has changed my life and I thank God every day that I met her and that she cared enough to help when no one else would.
I remember leaving my initial appointment feeling very empowered. I didn’t feel guilty, defeated, or responsible anymore. I felt very hopeful. I truly believe that the regular acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments played a huge role in my success with getting pregnant this second time.
I feel so blessed to have been referred to Dr. Baker as I feel that she has totally improved my quality of life. I will always be grateful to my friend at church for leading me to her and I will always be grateful to her for making my life more enjoyable.