Torticollis is caused by tightening of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (the muscle that runs from behind the ear to the collarbone). When the muscle is in a shortened position this causes your infant’s ear to be drawn closer to a shoulder and causes your child’s head to rotate (or eyes looking) in the opposite direction.

What are some risk factors for developing Torticollis?

  • Use of instruments during delivery
  • Longer birth length
  • Trauma during birth
  • Primiparity (a woman who has given birth to one child or who is giving birth for the first time)

Why do Physical Therapists treat Torticollis?

  • To allow for symmetrical movement of the neck
  • To prevent Plagiocephaly (abnormal shaping of the head) from developing
  • To allow your child to roll through both sides equally
  • To allow your child to use right and left arms and legs equally

What do Physical Therapists do to treat Torticollis?

  • Stretching Interventions to address the tight sternocleidomastoid muscle
  • Exercises to improve neck and core strength
  • Provide caregivers with environmental modifications, exercises, positioning, and stretches to do at home
  • Address mobility deficits as appropriate with each child

If you have concerns about whether your child has Torticollis, please consult your Pediatrician or a Physical Therapist. 

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