Infant with head turned to the side

Infant Torticollis

In Child Development, Pediatric Occupational Therapy by Advance TherapyLeave a Comment

By Ginny Rieger

 

I have been treating quite a bit of infant torticollis lately, and its one of my favorite things to treat for two reasons. First, I LOVE babies!!  Second, with a little consistency and minor changes to your routine with your baby, it usually resolves quickly. 

Torticollis is a condition in which tightness and shortening of the child’s neck muscles (specifically the sternocleidomastoid) make their head twist and tilt to one side. It often looks like your infant’s neck is rotated at an odd angle, their head may be tilted to one side and/or their chin may be tilted to the other side. This positioning often creates a flattening of the skull on one side, and stunted hair growth. 

Torticollis is fairly common in babies, and is often present at birth, or develops shortly after birth. Congenital torticollis is the most common type of torticollis. It’s usually painless to your infant, and you may not notice it until a few weeks after birth. Acquired torticollis usually occurs in the first four to six months of your baby’s life or later, and may appear suddenly or slowly. In rare cases acquired torticollis might be a sign of a more serious health issue.

There is no great answer as to WHY some infants develop this, but it is thought that the most likely culprit is the way that the baby is positioned in the womb. Sometimes things are tight in there! Other contributing factors are too much time spent in car seats or just lying on their backs in the same position.

Treatment for torticollis focuses on stretching exercises, light massage and changing how you position the child during sleeping, feeding, and playing. Torticollis is very treatable, and most often our little ones show improvement within a few weeks!

Is your child showing signs of torticollis?  If so, we can help!  Remember that we offer free consultations, or ask our wonderful pediatricians in town if therapy is indicated. I need more baby snuggles!! 

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