Torticollis, or wryneck, literally means “twisted neck” in Latin. In newborns, torticollis can happen due to positioning in the womb or after a difficult childbirth. 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, it’s called an SCM tumour, which again is Latin for ‘lump’. It’s not a cancer!
The other type of torticollis is called an acquired torticollis. This means that it has developed after birth, either as a result of some shortening form the position that the baby has been lying in or due to bruising during the birth.
The treatment is the same for both types and involves some simple stretching exercises to ease out this short and sometimes cramped muscle. It can be upsetting to see that your baby has a tilted head or difficulty turning his or her neck, but most babies don’t feel any pain as a result of their torticollis but it does need to be seen to early.
Some babies with torticollis also have developmental dysplasia of the hip, this means that the hip joints might not be developing properly and should have been picked up immediately after your baby was born when the midwife does the initial APGAR tests.
Find the right treatment
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.
We’ve also compiled a list of frequently asked questions which will help you understand more about Plagiocephaly and other variants of flat head syndrome. Likewise, we have a selection of case studies and testimonials that provide an insight into our treatments.
Or you can read about parents’ first-hand experiences on our Facebook page.
If you have any questions, then we’d love to hear from you. Simply call us on 0330 100 1800 (local rate) or 0113 218 8030