If so, there is a chance your baby has Torticollis. Torticollis is defined as an abnormal, asymmetrical head or neck position often identified in infancy. A baby with torticollis prefers to tilt his head to one side and/or primarily look in one direction. Babies with Torticollis will hold one ear toward one shoulder. In pictures, they may appear to always have their head tipped in one direction.
Torticollis occurs when one muscle in the neck becomes tight, often from malposition in utero. Once born, the baby continues to present with the preferred positioning. When your baby spends prolonged periods of time looking in the same direction (due to the muscle tightness), plagiocephaly, or flattening of the skull can occur. Babies with plagiocephaly as a complication of torticollis often present with facial asymmetries of the ears, eyes, forehead and cheeks. With early detection and proper intervention, torticollis can be resolved easily and plagiocephaly can be prevented.
If you have concerns your child could have torticollis, consult with your pediatrician and ask for a referral to a pediatric physical therapist, or simply call T.E.A.M. 4 Kids and ask to schedule a FREE screening with a pediatric physical therapist! Torticollis and positional preferences can be detected as early as 1 week after birth. Treatment is most effective when started immediately. Physical therapy can quickly correct your baby’s muscle tightness, improve your baby’s preferred positioning, and help attain age-appropriate developmental milestones which may be delayed because of the torticollis. A physical therapist will evaluate your baby, provide you with a specific home program of exercises to improve your baby’s condition and provide weekly physical therapy to resolve the condition. With proper intervention, babies with torticollis improve quickly and most often have great results following short-term physical therapy. The longer families wait, the more involved the torticollis becomes and the more difficult it is to treat. Physical therapists encourage families and doctors to be proactive if they suspect torticollis and request a physical therapy evaluation immediately. Early detection and early intervention is key to a quick and speedy recovery. If you have any concerns, call your pediatrician today.