OPTC Physical Therapy offers help for Torticollis

What is torticollis? 

Torticollis is an abnormal neck posture. It causes a baby to have a head tilt and/or rotation preference. The baby’s head may tilt to one side, giving him or her a limited range of motion. The condition is caused when the Sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) in the neck is abnormally tight. Torticollis can result from placement in utero or during the birth process. It may also appear when babies are constantly in the same position in car seats, swings, and other “containers” and the child does not turn their head to both sides.

OPTC treats for torticollis

Who does it affect?

Torticollis affects both females and males equally. Torticollis can affect facial symmetry, and ear alignment. It can also affect the shoulder and spine position. It can limit a child’s ability to turn his head to see, hear, and interact with their environment. It can lead to delayed cognitive development, delayed whole body awareness, muscle weakness, and difficulties with balance.

How are torticollis and plagiocephaly related?

With the baby favoring one side, he or she may develop plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) in addition to torticollis. Plagiocephaly is a flattening on one side of the head. The flattening typically is on the side of the head opposite of the tilt and same side of the rotation. You may also notice one ear is more forward, one cheek is fuller than the other, one eye is smaller than the other, or the top of the head is unlevel.

What to do if you are concerned about Torticollis?

Torticollis is treatable and OPTC is here to help! If you have any concerns with your child’s head shape or if they are favoring one side, address it with your pediatrician right away for a referral to physical therapy. The OPTC physical therapy team can address positioning to decrease pressure on their favored side and increase range of motion, and helps to progress towards age appropriate developmental milestones.

Have more questions? Let us Know through our contact page!

By: Amanda Bowens, PTA

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