Torticollis: What is it and how can Physical Therapy Help?

Written by on July 27, 2018

Torticollis: What is it and how can Physical Therapy Help?

Congenital Muscular Torticollis is an adaptive muscle shortening disorder that ranks as one of the most common deformities in the infant population. This muscle shortening can take place before birth in utero or be acquired anytime after birth. The congenital form tends to be more common with twin pregnancy, forceps delivery, vacuum extraction, or breech positioning. The acquired form of torticollis can be a result of impaired vision, tonsillitis, breastfeeding or bottle feeding to one side, gastric reflux, and prolonged periods of time spent in car seats, bouncers, strollers. More specifically, torticollis is a result of a shortened sternocleidomastoid muscle which is responsible for bending the neck to one side and turning the head to the opposite side. When this muscle imbalance occurs, there are a few key signs and symptoms to be aware of in your new baby.

Torticollis Signs:

  • Tilted neck appearance Torticollis baby
  • Upward chin tilt
  • Use of one hand/arm
  • Looking to one side only
  • Difficulty turning the head
  • One-sided shoulder hike
  • Lump in the neck musculature
  • Plagiocephaly/head flattening

If you notice these signs in your baby,  it is important to get your child checked by your pediatrician and to be sure to speak with your physician on the benefits of physical therapy for the treatment of torticollis. A Physical Therapist will work with you and your child to correct muscle imbalances with a focus on stretching the affected muscles, strengthening weak musculature, and emphasizing typical motor development to ensure the acquisition of important developmental milestones. Your physical therapist will also teach you techniques to supplement treatment at home to ensure the best results for your child.

Contact 3 Dimensional Physical Therapy to schedule with one of our PEDIATRIC therapists in our Haddonfield, Berlin or Medford offices!

Categorized as: Articles,Pediatric,Pediatric PT

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