Baby torticollis

Published by : | February 20 2019

What is a Congenital Torticollis?

It is a postural deformation identified at birth or shortly after the birth.

In fact, it is a unilateral contracture or a muscular shortening (on one side only of the neck) of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) that lead to an inclination of the head on the same side as the shortened muscle and a rotation on the opposite side.

It is difficult to know the true cause of the Torticollis in the newborn or young baby.  However, there are 3 types of Congenital Torticollis:

  1. Fibromatose coli (Tumor at the SCM muscle).
  2. Muscular Torticollis (Contracture or Stiffness of SCM muscle).
  3. Postural or Positional Torticollis (Torticollis attitude) — ABSENCE of stiffness or tumor at SCM muscle.


In the physiotherapy assessment, other associated conditions may be identified, such as:

  • Asymmetry of the jaw.
  • Asymmetry of the ears.
  • Plagiocephaly (flattening of the head).
  • Scoliosis.
  • Asymmetry of the pelvis.
  • Congenital dislocation of the hip.
  • Deformation of the foot.

It is very common to note a delay in motor development in the young baby with a Congenital Torticollis.


What should I do when my baby has a Congenital Torticollis?

First of all, an assessment must be made to find out what type of Torticollis it is! In addition, in the physiotherapy assessment, made by a physiotherapist in pediatrics, the latter will be responsible for all other conditions that may be related to the Torticollis.

According to the results, she will begin the treatment of the Torticollis in your baby. Then, on the first appointment, she will teach you exercises and accompany you throughout the process that will include the rehabilitation of Congenital Torticollis, as well as the different conditions associated.

The frequency of follow-up is variable depending on the severity of Torticollis and the associated side effects.

The therapies are done through play, while respecting the rhythm of each baby and its parents.



The pleasure of treating your little one !

Julie Lamarre

Physiothérapeute en pédiatrie More from same author

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