In response increasing number of torticollis cases, TherapyWorks recently formed the torticollis treatment team. Its primary goals are to create a uniform evaluation and treatment protocol and educate therapists on the latest treatment techniques. This ensures each patient receives the highest level of care and treatment benefits are maximized.
What is torticollis?
Torticollis is a condition in which the muscles on one side of an infant’s neck are tight or shortened resulting in the child turning their head to one side. A flat spot on the child’s head, also known as plagiocephaly, can result in a misshapen appearance.
Many infants are born with torticollis; however, some can acquire it in the first few months of life. Torticollis is a completely reversible condition if caught early. Research shows the sooner therapy begins, the faster changes and improvements are seen.
Risk factors for developing torticollis include:
– Lack of space in utero with twins or multiples
– In utero positioning
– Low amniotic fluid
– Positional deformity as a result of sleeping on back and/or in car seats or swings
– Traumatic birth
Children with torticollis are affected in different ways such as:
– Head is tilted and turned to one side.
– Can’t turn head in opposite direction.
– Flat spot on back of head or one one side of head at 2-3 months of age.
– Some infants will have a misshapen head after birth but should resolve by 6 weeks of age.
– Uneven facial features or bulging of the forehead.
– Developmental milestones such as sitting, crawling and walking can be delayed.
The torticollis treatment team strives to minimize complications of torticollis through prevention, early intervention and treatment. Specialized treatment includes occupational and physical therapy provided by a team of extensively trained pediatric therapists.
Tummy Time and Positioning
– Place your baby on his or her tummy at least 30 minutes a day while awake and supervised. This can be for a few minutes at a time, multiple times a day.
– Alternate arms when holding or feeding.
– Reduce the amount of time in infant carriers, swings or car seats as much as possible.
See our blog on tummy time for more tips.
Our therapists offer personalized treatment programs based on each child’s individual needs. Some of the treatment methods that may be used include:
– Stretching and positioning exercises
– Developmental skills facilitation
– Kinesio Taping®, TheraTogsTM or custom neck collars
– Electrical muscle stimulation/BOTOX®
– If treated early, helmet wearing or surgery can almost always be avoided.
Kinesio Taping® is a registered trademark of Kineso Taping Association International.
TheraTogsTM is a trademark of TheraTogs, Inc.
BOTOX® is a registered trademark of Allergan, Inc.