Torticollis

What is it? 

Torticollis is a condition in which the neck muscles contract, causing the head to twist to one side.

 

How might this look in your child? 

  1. Flat spot on side or back of head (due to head remaining turned/tilted)
  2. Child prefers to turn head to one side
  3. Head may remain slightly tilted
  4. Limited range of motion in the head and neck
  5. If breastfed, child may have trouble feeding on one side (or prefers one breast only

What is the cause?

 

This condition can begin before, during, or after birth. The SCM is a muscle that runs along each side of the neck and controls how the head moves. When the SCM muscle is contracted, it results in Torticollis. Below are some common reasons why the SCM muscle may have become contracted and caused torticollis;

  • The way baby was positioned in the womb
  • Abnormal development of the SCM muscle
  • Trauma or damage to the muscle during birth
  • Minor trauma to the head and neck
  • Respiratory and soft-tissue infections of the neck
  • Abnormalities in the cervical spine (such as atlantoaxial subluxation)

 

How can it impact my baby?

 

The early months of a child’s life are crucial for his/her development. Torticollis can impact an infant’s development of vision, sensory processing, feeding, and fine and gross motor skills.

Examples may include:

  • Decreased head control
  • Limited visual tracking
  • Limited reaching on affected side
  • Preference for rolling to one side only
  • Delayed sitting
  • Asymmetrical crawling
  • Delayed walking
  • Poor balance
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Decreased tolerance to movement in space, such as swinging or sliding

It is important to seek treatment as early as possible, to avoid potential developmental delay and facial asymmetry.

How can it impact my baby?

 

The early months of a child’s life are crucial for his/her development. Torticollis can impact an infant’s development of vision, sensory processing, feeding, and fine and gross motor skills.

Examples may include:

  • Decreased head control
  • Limited visual tracking
  • Limited reaching on affected side
  • Preference for rolling to one side only
  • Delayed sitting
  • Asymmetrical crawling
  • Delayed walking
  • Poor balance
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Decreased tolerance to movement in space, such as swinging or sliding

It is important to seek treatment as early as possible, to avoid potential developmental delay and facial asymmetry.

How is it treated

Our goals are to help you position your baby in midline, stretch the tight neck muscles and strengthen the weaker neck muscles. Three main things influence good outcomes in babies with torticollis:

These are:

  • How severe the torticollis is
  • How old your baby is when you start treatment
  • How well you follow through on your home exercise program