Torticollis is a condition in which a child's head appears tilted. It is typically caused by a tightening or shortening of the neck muscles. Torticollis often refers to tightness of a specific muscle which pulls the head sideways toward the shoulder, turns the face toward the opposite shoulder and brings the head forward on the chest. Continuously spending time in this position frequently causes other neck muscles to tighten. Torticollis is also associated with Plagiocephaly.
Torticollis should be evaluated by a physician to determine the cause and whether treatment is required. If treatment is necessary, a referral will be made for physical therapy. A physical therapist should individually assess the needs of each child and provide treatment, home exercise and positioning suggestions. For children with Torticollis, it is important for them to have plenty of supervised time on their tummy, lying on their side, sitting, and supported standing. The child's environment should be set up to promote exploration toward the baby's non-preferred side. and by minimizing the use of bouncy seats, swings, and other reclined seating.