The pregnancy and the childbirth have been an intense journey for both mommy and baby. They went through different stages together month after month. Now that baby arrived, he always has his head in the same position. The parents wonder: What happened to my baby and what can I do? They tried to change the position of the baby's head and he always goes back to the initial position. This article will explore why infant can have a stiff neck, torticollis and / or plagiocephaly, how to find out and help.
About 1 in 250 infants are born with torticollis. Is it new? No !! During the pregnancy, the baby often finds a comfortable position in the mother's belly. At the beginning, the baby can move easily. As the weeks pass, the infant is growing and the space in the uterus becomes smaller. The stiff neck or torticollis in infant is generally influenced by the position of the baby during the last months in the uterus. The baby stays in the same position for days. After the delivery, no wonder why the baby can have his neck and head always turned or bent on one side. He is still in the fetal position. As well, the recommendation of the doctors is that the baby always sleeps on his back because of the fear of the sudden infant deaths. So, babies can develop a flat head and a tendency to always have their head in the same position because of this.
If your baby has a torticollis, you will probably notice that your baby holds his head to one side, either turned or bent, and has limited neck movements. Infant with torticollis may also develop positional plagiocephaly which is an asymetric head shape. They will often sleep with their heads turned on the same side because of their stiff neck.As soon as you notice that your baby has a stiff neck, it is good to consult a pediatric physical therapist and / or an an osteopath.
The ideal age is a few days to a few weeks or months. More the infant is young, better will be the improvement of his condition with treatments, simple tools for the parents and exercices. It is good to lie the baby on his side during the day and even on his belly if you stay around. Our mothers and grandmothers have slept their babies in different positions and most of them are healthy adults now. The parents should be concerned about the stiff neck, the torticollis and the plagiocephaly as soon as possible to prevent any discomfort, permanent skull defectity and not lose any learning time. It is a reversible pathology. The condition should be fully corrected before the age of 1 year old.
Baby's skull is very flexible and intolerable to modifications. Always sleeping on the same side often results in flattening of that side of the skull. It is known as plagiocephaly, more commonly called the flattened head. It can be positional, if the baby is always on his back or sits in a chair with his head supported. It can also be related with the fetal position, the torticollis and the stiff neck. After the aesthetic side that can become permanent, there is no risk to the child's health. The osteopatic treatments, provided by the osteopath, the physiotherapy treatments, provided by the pediatric physical therapist, and the exercises will allow your baby's head to come back to its normal shape easily without any pain or discomfort and the baby's neck to move better. If it is a severe plagiocephaly, baby can have a plagiocephaly helmet prescribed by the pediatric doctor around the age of 7 months for about 3 months to wear 23 hours a day. The plagiocephaly helmet is not painful at all.
The combination of all that will help your baby to grow healthy and to move well.