Infants Torticollis – What it is and How to Help Baby

Does your baby have infants torticollis? If the baby's head tilts to one side and they always seem to look in one direction the answer is yes. While some cases, called acquired torticollis, are more serious and are caused by a tumor or mass on the brain or spine, they are more rare. The more common form of infants torticollis that babies are born with is sometimes called congential torticollis and can be easily fixed.

Why does this happen? Usually it's how the baby might be positioned in the womb or through some kind of trauma during delivery. This trauma or injury causes a shortening or contracture of the sternocleidomastoid muscle. If you notice the baby's head tilting to one side and they have trouble tilting or turning to the other take them to the doctor right away. Torticollis is easily corrected when found early.

Once the doctor evaluates the baby he will suggest a stretching and exercise program for baby done either by the parents or a physical therapist. The baby's neck muscles are gently stretched and reinforced by massage and exercise. The parents can play with the child and encourage him to turn his head the other way through different activities. They can hold a toy to his non-affected side or stand on non-affected side while talking to him. Place baby on tummy and hold toys above for him to look up at or during stroller rides have stroller toy in front for him to grasp.

Catching this condition early and use of physical therapy stretching and exercise will usually fix this problem and it is usually corrected by the time child is 18 months old. On the rare occasion this does not work surgery is suggested and will fix this. The realization that your baby has torticollis can be disturbing but it does not have to be.