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8 Signs Your Child May Have Torticollis

8 Signs Your Child May Have Torticollis

You may have never heard of torticollis. It’s Latin for “twisted neck.” Babies, children, and even adults can be affected by torticollis. If a baby is born with it, it’s congenital torticollis, which occurs in the majority of cases. Babies can also develop it after birth; then it’s acquired torticollis. 

What causes torticollis? 

Your baby has a muscle on each side of his head that connects the back of the head to the collar bone. Torticollis occurs when the muscle on one side of the head is shorter than the other. One side of your baby’s head may have been cramped and under pressure in the womb, causing the muscle to contract. 

It’s important to seek treatment because even though it sounds like a simple problem that would resolve, if it’s not changed, your child is likely to suffer a delay in sitting and walking, have weak balance, and problems feeding. 

Our expert occupational therapists with Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy treat your baby’s torticollis with care and compassion, helping him develop age appropriate motor skills. Following are eight signs that your child may have torticollis

Head tilted to the side

Is your baby’s head tilted to one side much of the time with the chin pointed the other way? This is a common symptom of torticollis. 

Doesn’t turn head side to side; favors one side

If your baby only turns his head to one side or has trouble moving his head up and down, his neck muscle is likely impacted. 

Doesn’t control head well — floppy or stiff 

Babies whose heads seem stiff or on the other hand, too floppy, likely have torticollis. Your baby should be able to move his head well side to side and up and down without stress. 

Prefers breastfeeding on one side only 

Does your baby want to breastfeed only on one side? Does he cry when you try to place him on the other side and refuse to feed? That position may be very uncomfortable for him if he’s unable to move his neck to feed. 

Eyes don’t track you on both sides

When you call your baby when you’re to one side of him, does he only turn one way to try to see you when he should be turning toward your voice? If he can’t turn his head toward you on one side and track you with his eyes, the neck may be too stiff to move easily.  

Lump in the neck 

Does your baby’s neck have a slight lump? That may be a sign of torticollis. With treatment, your baby will improve his muscle movement and the lump will eventually disappear. 

Frustration in moving the head one way

Does your baby get fussy and frustrated when you hold a toy to the side he doesn’t favor? Do you see that he has a hard time trying to turn toward you and the toy? Pediatric occupational therapy can help resolve this problem. 

Head flat on one side

Does your baby have a favorite position lying down with his head on one side all the time? His head may start getting flat on that side.  Does your baby’s head look flat? 

Treatment for torticollis 

In addition to pediatric occupational therapy with our expert staff, we show you how to help your baby at home, providing instructions for therapeutic, fun exercises to do with your baby throughout the day to help him stretch his neck muscle and gain normal balance and coordination. 

Call Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy today for a consultation on how our occupational therapists can help your child thrive. 

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