Torticollis (head tilt to one side) may be present in babies for many different reasons. It may be caused by the infant's position in utero, a bone deformity, a nodule on the muscle, or difficulties during delivery. It is important that the cause of the torticollis is understood, and that the head tilt and rotation is indeed confirmed as torticollis and not related to some other condition.
Treatment should be started as soon as an atypical head position is recognized, preferably when the baby is newborn or 1-2 months old. Early intervention minimizes the secondary problems that may develop such as head deformity, and asymmetrical movement. Because development of movement in children proceeds from head to toe, it is important that the head position is corrected early to prevent the asymmetry being perpetuated throughout the body as the baby develops.
It is not enough to simply provide stretching exercises for the neck when a torticollis is present. Head tilt and rotation are often accompanied by plagiocephaly or mis-shapen head. A management program incorporating positioning, stretching, and strengthening must be implemented.
Paediatric physiotherapists at Action Potential Rehabilitation have specialized training in treating babies with Torticollis and muscle imbalance. They are able to recognize and measure plagiocephaly, head tilt, and rotation, and to provide support, exercises, and suggestions. They know when to recommend bracing or referrals to specialized clinics.
One of our physiotherapists will come to your home, or you can come to our clinic to receive individual one-on-one consultation and physiotherapy for your baby. This can be in addition to the torticollis education group offered at CHEO. Your child may require ongoing monitoring to ensure that they are developing as they should be.
This website provides general information about our services and various conditions. It is not intended to be used for self-assessment or treatment, and is not a substitute for an individualized treatment plan developed by a registered physiotherapist.