Torticollis is a condition defined by an abnormal, asymmetrical head or neck position. A multitude of conditions may lead to the development of torticollis including muscular fibrosis, congenital spine abnormalities, decreased blood supply to the muscle, difficulty during delivery, and positioning of the baby inside the uterus during the last few weeks of pregnancy. In addition, infants often develop torticollis as a result of the amount of time spent lying on their back during the day in car seats, swings, bouncers, strollers, and on play mats. They typically have a higher risk of the flat head syndrome as well.
It is extremely important to have torticollis treated to prevent a permanent shortening of the involved muscles. In addition, therapy can help avoid needed surgery and decreases head and neck pain. When discovered and stretches are implemented early, 80% of children recover completely with no long-term effects.
What does therapy include?
A Physical Therapist will perform an evaluation to assess the child’s passive range of motion, active range of motion, muscle tightness, muscle strength, and gross motor skills. She also checks for other conditions that can occur with children who present with torticollis such as plagiocephaly (abnormal head shape), hip dysplasia (misalignment of the hip joint), and spine problems. The therapist then discusses these results with the family and makes appropriate recommendations for physical therapy treatment, if indicated.
The physical therapy treatment may include stretching and strengthening of the child’s neck muscles. It will typically include active and passive stretching of the neck and shoulder muscles as well as positioning and handling techniques to correct the child’s posture.
For more information, Contact us at Melissa, TX center.