What Is Torticollis?
Torticollis, also sometimes known as “wry neck” or “loxia,” is a condition caused by a variety of factors, but results in the tightening of the neck muscles on one side and subsequent head tilt. Torticollis can be acute and temporary, caused by awkward positioning, or more long-term and congenital.
Torticollis is most common in infants and children under 2.
What Causes Torticollis?
The most common causes of torticollis in children and infants include the following:
- Congenital causes
- Trauma from childbirth
- Congenital muscular torticollis (CMT), a postural physical deformity caused by shortening and fibrosis of the sternocleidomastoid muscle on one side of the neck
Signs & Symptoms of Torticollis
The following signs and symptoms may indicate acute or congenital torticollis in children:
- Head tilting in a single direction
- Difficulty turning the head
- Difficulty following an object or loved one with the eyes due to problems moving the neck or head
- Difficulty with breastfeeding on one side only
Torticollis is also associated with plagiocephaly, or flattening of the head, due to bad positioning.
Torticollis is fairly common and most children with torticollis don’t have any other medical problems. Still, torticollis and plagiocephaly should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Physical Therapy for Torticollis in Children
Treatment for torticollis in children can often be done at home based on advice from a pediatrician or other medical specialist. Some home treatments may include the following:
- Natural stretching exercises
- Encouraging the child to turn his or her head by offering a bottle or breast on the opposite side at feeding time
- “Tummy time” to help strengthen back and neck muscles
Exercises for Left Torticollis
Exercises for Right Torticollis
In some cases, however, your pediatrician may recommend treatment from a physical therapist.
Physical therapists treating torticollis will develop a custom therapeutic program for each child, incorporating stretches, exercises, special positioning, and gross motor skill development. They can also help to determine best treatments for plagiocephaly or other concurrent conditions.
If you’re in Connecticut and your pediatrician has recommended physical therapy for torticollis, Cheshire Fitness Zone can help.
Learn More & Make an Appointment
If you’d like to learn more about torticollis treatment for children or other pediatric physical therapy services in Connecticut, contact Cheshire Fitness Zone today to make an appointment.
With convenient locations in Cheshire, Orange and Meriden, Cheshire Fitness Zone’s dedicated staff has over 45 years of combined experience in pediatric physical therapy, occupational therapy, aquatic therapy, and more.
Get in touch today.