May 2, 2017

What is Torticollis?


right rotation preference

Torticollis is an abnormal position of the head and neck. Torticollis is typically caused by tightness or thickening of the sternocleidomastoid muscle on one side of the neck. This can be noticed by positioning of the baby’s head in a lateral flexion to one side/head tilt.  


What are signs of Torticollis?

  • Preference for turning head/looking to one side: Your baby may show a preference to look in one direction and have a hard time turning to look in the opposite direction.
  • Tilt of head to one side: Your baby may have a difficult time letting you move their ear towards their shoulder in one or both directions.
  • Decreased head rotation: Your baby may have a difficult time turning their head all the way to the left or right. A baby should be able to turn their head so their chin is in line with their shoulders.
  • Change in head shape: Your baby’s head may appear to be flattened on the back more on one side than the other or their head may be flattened across the entire back instead of rounded.
  • Behavior: Your baby may be fussy when you try to change the position of their head or when you place them on their tummy because they can’t lift their head easily.


What can I do?

Screenshot_2016-10-07-14-48-111Early referral to physical therapy is the key to the most successful outcome. As soon as you, or your pediatrician, notice any signs or have a concern a referral is recommended so treatment length can be minimized. Ask your Pediatrician about physical therapy referral and treatment to address your concerns.

What will Physical Therapy do for my child?

Physical therapy will focus on the needs of your individual child. A full evaluation will determine what areas need to be addressed including but not limited to: range of motion, stretching, massage, strengthening, balance, postural control, gross motor skills, environmental adaptations and parent/family education with home exercise program.

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