Torticollis, sometimes referred to as wryneck, literally translates to “twisted neck” in Latin. In newborns, torticollis can be due to a baby’s positioning in the womb or after a difficult childbirth. There are two types of torticollis; true torticollis and acquired torticollis. Torticollis treatment is the same for both types and involves stretching exercises.
A true torticollis is the result of a small knot of tangled fibres in one of the side neck muscles, the sterno-cleido mastoid muscle (SCM). This knot of muscles has a scary name, called an SCM tumour which is known as “lump” in Latin. But don’t let the name scare you; it’s not cancer.
An acquired torticollis develops after birth either because of some shortening from the position that the baby has been lying in, or due to bruising during birth.
Some babies with torticollis also have developmental dysplasia of the hip, which means that the hip joints might not be developing properly and this should have been picked up immediately after your baby was born, when the midwife did the APGAR tests.
So, what do you do if your baby has torticollis? Simple stretching exercises help to ease out the short, and sometimes cramped, muscle. It can be upsetting for parents to see their baby with a tilted head or with a difficulty to turn their head, but most babies don’t feel pain because of their torticollis. However, it is still important for it to be seen to early to solve it as quickly as possible.
If you are concerned about your baby’s ability to turn the head fully in both directions, seek the help of a paediatric Physiotherapist, Osteopath, or Chiropractor. We can also advise and help you to find appropriate treatment for this condition.
To learn more about torticollis and finding the right treatment, please read our informative post.
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