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more about Torticollis


  • A condition characterized by a tilting of the head to one side due to a shortening of the neck muscles (sternocleidomastoid muscle).

  • Torticollis occurs at birth or within the first 2 months of life.  The right side is commonly affected
  • Head tilts to one side
  • Rotation of the face and chin to the opposite side
  • Lump (sternocleidomastoid mass) or swelling may be seen in the affected neck muscles, which usually resolves itself by 3 months of age
  • The head cannot be straightened due to a decreased range of motion in the neck muscles.
  • Facial asymmetry occurs in cases of longstanding torticollis.  The affected side of the face may become flat.

  • The exact cause is uncertain, but there are several theories.
  • Birth trauma -- it is believed that torticollis occurs as a result of a stretching or a tear of the neck muscles during delivery.  As the hematoma and swelling subside, a scar tissue forms within the muscle, causing the muscle to shorten.
  • Abnormal position of the head in the uterus

  • History and physical examination.
  • There are other conditions that result in torticollis, such as vertebral abnormalities or spinal cord abnormalities.  If other causes of torticollis are suspected after a physical examination, additional examinations may be required such as X-Rays or MRI scans.
  • Hip X-Rays or Ultrasound exams are needed because hip dysplasia can be present about in about 20% of the cases.

  • Stretching exercises of the neck muscles should be done 3 to 6 times a day.
  • In young children, encourage head turning to stretch the contracted muscles by using the child's favorite toy to attract their attention.  Padding a car seat on the affected side
  • If physical therapy doesn't work, then a surgical release of the contracted muscles may be required.

  • Most of the torticollis is resolved with stretching exercises.   Early diagnosis and treatment is important in avoiding permanent deformities.

more about Torticollis

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