Torticollis: What is it and what to do about it.

If your baby’s doctor tells you that your baby has torticollis, you will, undoubtedly have many questions about it. First of all, what is it?? This term literally means “twisted neck.” It is caused by a tightening of a neck muscle on one side of the neck. This tightening occurs while the baby is still in the womb. The fetus may get stuck in one position for several weeks, forcing the baby’s head to tilt towards the shoulder. The muscle tightening gets worse after birth if babies sleep in the same position all the time. You may notice that your baby prefers to turn or tilt his head to one side. Babies who are at greater risk for this are boys, large birthweight babies, twins/multiples, breech, moms with uterus abnormalities, and first pregnancies. If your child has torticollis, his head and neck movements will be limited. And if you don’t actively do something about it, his head and facial shape may be affected. See this helpful video for exercises to work on at home. If you do not see improvement in six to eight weeks, it’s time to call in a physical therapist to help you.

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