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.