Physical Therapy: Torticollis

The cognitive and motor development of any child is vital because disabilities in these areas can have lasting effects on the rest of their life. Physical therapy has been the go-to solution for various conditions that can develop within the first 12 months of life.

One of those conditions that could be affecting your child is known as torticollis.

What is Torticollis?

Torticollis is a condition where an infant’s neck muscles tighten and cause head-turning, tilting, or position preference. The muscle responsible for turning and tilting the head, which is known as sternocleidomastoid, runs on both sides of the neck. In torticollis, this muscle shortens and contracts, or “gets tight” and limits how the head moves.

There are two types of torticollis:

  • Congenital torticollis. This type of torticollis refers to when the child is born with a tightened sternocleidomastoid muscle. It usually develops from the way your baby was positioned in utero.
  • Acquired torticollis. As the name suggests, this type of torticollis develops after birth. It’s usually caused by some kind of trauma or infection and not simply by their daily activities.

Signs of Torticollis

One sign of torticollis can be seen in a baby's head shape. Babies have soft heads in their early months, and a baby's preference for a particular position, head tilt or turn, can impact the shape of the head and cause a flat spot. This flat or asymmetrical head shape is known as plagiocephaly.

Babies who spend extended periods of time on their backs can develop a flat spot on the back of their heads, which can lead to head shape and facial asymmetries. This is why tummy-time is so important!

If you are noticing your baby turning or tilting his/her head to one side, talk to your doctor about pediatric physical therapy!

How Can Pediatric Physical Therapists Help With Infant Torticollis?

If your child is displaying any of the signs mentioned above, their condition can be positively affected by pediatric physical therapy exercises. Their therapy services will be able to:

  • Help provide stretches and positioning techniques to lengthen the shortened muscle.
  • Demonstrate the appropriate positioning for holding, feeding, sleeping, playing, car seat time, and even diaper changing that will aid in regaining range of motion and strength for the neck.
  • Help guide you in how to address the flattening on the back of the head.
  • Offer referrals to appropriate specialists depending on the severity of their condition.
  • Provide home exercises that target their condition so that parents are able to take exercises from sessions and continue at home between sessions.

Physical Therapy Services at Carolina Pediatric Therapy

Physical therapists work towards improving physical development in infancy. The experts at Carolina Pediatric Therapy know that physical therapy is a great conservative approach to conditions like torticollis.

If you believe your child is suffering from this condition, contact us today! We provide comprehensive rehabilitation services for children of all ages, from birth through 21 years of age.

Want to know how a Therapist can Help?

Schedule your infant, child, and teen for an evaluation today and see how a therapist can help your family.
Call (828) 398 0043 or click on the schedule button.

Post navigation