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Torticollis and Infants

By September 13, 2016No Comments

Torticollis is a condition where the neck muscles are tight, keeping the neck in a fixed position. The name comes from a Latin word that literally means “twisted neck.” All ages can be affected by this condition, but today, we want to discuss how torticollis can affect babies and how physical therapy can help with the condition.

Torticollis in infants can occur for a variety of reasons, many times due to poor positioning during napping, sleeping, playtime and/or breast-feeding. Some believe that cramping as a fetus and breech position at birth causes the infant’s neck to bend and stay into a position. Others believe that the use of forceps or vacuums during delivery can predispose babies to the condition.

Symptoms of torticollis include preferring to look over one shoulder and preferring one side over the other when breast feeding. If you notice that your infant is unable to turn his or her head, they may have acquired torticollis. The good news is that with a education and treatment from a trained Physical Therapist, the condition can be reversed and cause to no long-term deficits in the child’s function.

Physical therapy can help with torticollis by:

  • Stretching neck muscles that have tightened
  • Strengthen neck muscles
  • Improve muscle imbalance
  • Gain full, pain-free range of motion

Most of these can be accomplished by massaging, stretching, home exercises, and occasional taping. If left untreated, torticollis can become permanent.

If you think your infant might be needing physical therapy to help with torticollis, please give us a call to schedule an appointment. 801-572-0690