Congenital Muscular Torticollis occurs in infants when the neck musculature is shortened at birth or shortly thereafter. Typically, the infant presents with his/her head tilted with the chin pointing to one shoulder while the head tilts toward the opposite shoulder. Physician diagnosis is important so that your child can get treatment. If not corrected, your infant will be unable to move his/her head properly and permanent muscle tightening with asymmetry of the neck and face can result. If left untreated, this can also create a “flat spot” on the back of your child’s head. This condition can also create a delay with developmental milestones; such as rolling over.
Symptoms of Congenital Muscular Torticollis
- Baby’s head is tilted to one side; the chin points to one shoulder and the head tilts toward the opposite shoulder. This is the position your child will keep his/her head in at rest.
- You may notice that your baby cannot move his/her head as well as other babies.
- You may also notice a lump in your baby’s neck musculature.
Treatment of Muscular Torticollis
- Gentle manual stretching exercise program – to help relieve the tension and lengthen the musculature
- Infant stimulation to help the infant learn to move and stretch the muscles in different ways.
- Use of gentle soft tissue massage to relax the baby’s muscles.
- Educate parents on appropriate exercises at home, positioning for baby’s head and body (i.e., while feeding/nursing, sleeping, laying on back, belly or side, in carseat, or while being carried.)