Torticollis is a term used to describe asymmetrical posturing of the head and neck. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines torticollis as “a twisting of the neck to one side that results in abnormal carriage of the head and is usually caused by muscle spasms—called also wryneck”. Torticollis can occur in individuals of any age for a variety of reasons. The majority of children diagnosed with torticollis during their first year of life have congenital muscular torticollis (CMT). Our neck is comprised of many muscles that help us look up, down, and side to side. One muscle, the sternocleidomastoid, turns our head to the opposite side and tilts our head to the same side. In CMT, the sternocleidomastoid is fibrotic for an often unknown reason. The fibrotic tissue inhibits the elasticity of the muscle, therefore inhibiting rotation and lateral tilt. Physical therapy helps to restore the normal motion and strength to your child’s neck.
A pediatric physical therapist (PT) is trained to assess the range of motion, strength, and development of your child with torticollis. The physical therapist creates a treatment plan including exercises for your child during therapy and instruction in a safe home exercise program for you to carry out with the guidance of your PT. Your therapist will progress the exercises and home exercise program as your child grows and changes, as well as, collaborate with your child’s physician regarding their care. A child, in their first year of life, is always changing and it is important to work with a pediatric PT that understands each stage of your child’s development.
Our treament methods
Treatment will include:
- Evaluation of the child including baseline clinical measurements of head shape, neck motion and postural tilt
- Identification of motor and functional deficits
- Establishment of goals and a treatment plan specifically for your child
- Play-based therapy, manual techniques and developmental activities
- Instruction in a home exercise program to ensure parent comfort in interacting with their child and optimize functional gains