Torticollis is a condition of the neck that arises when a major muscle called the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) becomes physically shortened or excessively contracted. This shortening creates tension that pulls the head and holds it in a fixed tilted position.
In newborns, it is thought that torticollis occurs because of trauma during delivery, or because of a mal-positioned head in the womb. There are additional causes of torticollis that your physician/pediatrician will rule out prior to recommending physiotherapy.
Symptoms of Infant Torticollis may include:
- The head will appear to be bent toward one shoulder and tilted to the opposite side. This is due to the tension in the SCM muscle on one side of the neck.
- One side of the back of the head may appear flatter. This is due to the baby primarily sleeping on one area of the skull as a result of the tilted neck position.
- Nursing my be more difficult on one side. This is due to your baby’s head in tilted to one side over the other.
- A lump/mass/nodule may be felt within the SCM muscle on one side of the neck. In general, this is often noticed between the age of 2-4 weeks, and disappears gradually over a period months, by the age 5-8 months, it has disappeared completely.
For more information on infant torticollis, please contact our Harrow office at 519-738-0933 or our Amherstburg office at 519-730-1111.