I never mentioned this before, but my son has Torticollis. When he was two and a half months, I noticed that he did not have much neck strength. I pushed tummy time but was met with a screaming child. He HATED tummy time (now I understand why), though I still made him do it. When I saw how strong his cousin was (who was a month younger than him) I started to wonder.... The day he had his 3 month photos done at Sears, started the ball rolling. The woman who did his photos asked if he has a weak neck. I immediately began to panic, her question just voiced my own worries. I know that children all develop differently, and that is what I told myself to stop my worries.
A week later, at Jonah's doctor appointment, I asked his pediatrician about it. She looked him over and said that she felt he was fine, to not worry. Just to give you an idea, here is a picture of him I took around the same time...at three and a half months;
When I look at that picture, I am still in shock that his pediatrician thought he was fine. I see clearly that there is something VERY wrong with his neck! However I tried to tell myself to trust her, she was a professional, but a month later, I noticed how bad it had become, he couldn't keep his head up, I would straighten it, but it would flop back down. I KNEW. I called his pediatrician and she had not gone in that day, no one covering for her, and if I wanted to, I could wait until 4pm to come in to the walk in. NO WAY! I called our GP, she had no openings, however there IS a pediatrician in her office and he said he was willing to squeeze us in, but we had to be there soon as he was leaving for the day. We rushed in, and after a thorough examination, he agreed with us. Jonah has a weak neck. This pediatrician, I will call him Dr. C, said that he would refer us for physio before leaving for the day and send the information to our pediatrician as well. We were called and given an appointment that was only 2 weeks away.
At physio, we began with an information session where they explained in great detail what Torticollis is and followed up with a thorough examination of each child present (there were 6 in total). The children's photos were taken in different positions and they were checked to see how they held their heads at all different angles, followed by a physical examination to check the flexibility of their neck muscles. Of the 6 children, one child was fine, nothing wrong, and was told that they can go right away. 4 others were given different tips to help in their day-to-day lives. Jonah was the only one with a tight neck muscle. He DOES have Torticollis, AND has a tight muscle in his neck on his left side (very visible in the picture). I felt relief. I was happy that I was not crazy, an overly worrysome mom. I KNEW something was not right, we now know what it is and are taking steps to correct it.
Torticollis is a shortening and/or weakness of the neck (the sternocleidomastoid muscle - the muscle that works to tilt and turn the head). This is now very common in babies but has a good prognosis. When caught early enough, through excersises and positioning, can be reversed. Often this is accompanied with a change in the head shape (Jonah has a slight flat spot). Jonah will be followed closely until he is sitting independantly (like all babies with Torticollis).
A few weeks later (the end of July) we had a follow up at physio. After working on stretching excersises with Jonah for several weeks, we learned that the tightness is gone! WOO HOO!! We no longer have to do the stretching excersises, we just need to encourage him to use his neck muscles, through tummy time, sitting upright and standing.
Another piece of information I learned. Tummy time is not just to help strengthen the neck, it also helps to lengthen the esophagus which will stop reflux!! I did not know that, yet another good reason for tummy time.
The next time we saw the pediatrician, a week after our first physio, I informed her of all that had transpired since our last visit. He had another UTI scare, diagnosed with Torticollis, allergic reaction in his eye, I think there was more but I can't remember right now what. Things that I thought she should be aware of, you know, because she is HIS DOCTOR!?!? Well, she was curt, short and couldn't get out of there fast enough. I don't know if she even heard any thing. I was NOT impressed, I was not being chatty.
Anyways....here is a photo of Jonah taken just yesterday, so much better! I mentioned that I noticed when he gets tired, his head will start to tilt again, and they informed me that it always will. When you get tired, you relax. Normal.
Yesterday, Jonah had his 6month round of needles, a month behind because of his UTI's. At, he has been feeling off, spitting up more often, and more feverish. Even when he is not feeling well, he is always in good spirits, it amazes me. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful little boy, well worth the wait, 28 years since I decided that my biggest ambition would be to become a mommy ( I was 5). Yesterday, Jonah reached another milestone, he sat on his own for a whole minute!! WAY TO GO!! I was beaming with pride. His pediatrician was there for it and she was beyond happy with his progress!