Bethesda Hospital East

Torticollis Program

 

Torticollis is a tightness of the muscle that bends the head to one side. Infants who have Torticollis typically display some of the following signs:

  • They lie with their head bent to one side and their face is turned to the other side.
  • They will typically favor one side over the other. 
  • It may be difficult or impossible for their head to be turned from one side to the other. 
  • Some babies may experience a flattening of the back or side of the head.

 There are several theories about the cause of Torticollis:

  • Torticollis is caused by a malposition of the baby's neck in the womb.
  • Torticollis is the result of a birth trauma following a breach delivery. 
  • Torticollis is related to the "back to sleep" promotion to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  In the "back to sleep" promotion, babies are sometimes placed on their backs for the first six months of their lives without experiencing time on their belly to strengthen their neck and arm muscles.

In addition, some babies with feeding problems will also experience neck tightness, as many babies must stay upright for feeding. These babies lack the opportunity for time on their belly.  In some cases, babies may even experience a developmental delay of their motor skills with this condition. 

 

Torticollis can be overcome with early recognition and treatment. Bethesda's Center for Pediatric Development offers a program to help infants diagnosed with Torticollis. The pediatric physical therapists work with infants and parents to minimize this problem through a program of education for proper positioning, stretching techniques and strengthening exercises. The therapists will also evaluate the need for temporary use of an orthotic collar or helmet.

 

Contact Us

To schedule an appointment, call Central Scheduling at 561.374.5700.
For more information, call 561.374.5712.