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Torticollis is a condition seen in infants in which one or more muscles in the neck are tight, causing the baby's head tilt to one side and rotated to the opposite side. Most commonly, the tight muscle is the strenocleidomastoid muscle (SCM), which runs from behind the ear to the collarbone. Physical therapy is often needed for stretching and positioning so that the muscle(s) can regain normal length, thus allowing the baby to have normal neck movements.

 

Left untreated, poor and asymmetric neck mobility can impact motor development by delaying the child’s mastery of motor milestones, such as rolling, sitting, and reaching for toys. Left untreated, the child develops positional plagiocephaly, where the head shape becomes asymmetrical. If the underlying reason for the positional plagiocephaly, namely the muscular torticollis, is treated early on, it will often be reversed without interventions like molding helmets or in rare cases surgery.

 

If you suspect that your baby has torticollis, it is important to talk with your baby's pediatrician and seek intervention from a pediatric physical therapist with training in the treatment of torticollis.

 

Treating torticollis as early as possible is the key to a quick recovery with a good outcome.

Torticollis

Make sure your baby’s head is well supported in the midline.
Right torticollis posture. Head tilts to the right and turns left.
Torticollis treatment often consists of a series of muscle stretches done several times a day.
Click here for an an informative hand-out for parents about torticollis

Unsupported Posture

Proper Head and Neck Support