What is Torticollis?

Lydia Weir
April 14, 2023

What is torticollis?

Torticollis is a stiff, stuck, and twisted neck where the child’s head is continually bent to one side, making it difficult to turn and rotate their head and neck in both directions.

In my experience, most cases of torticollis are easily overlooked and missed. Parents are typically told that “it’ll get better with time” and their infant will “grow out of it.” However, truth be told, they don’t grow out of it. Kiddos actually grow into a whole load of other issues.

They’re more susceptible to ear infections and respiratory infections like croup, chronic cough, and even RSV. Severe forms of torticollis can lead to plagiocephaly (flattened skull due to repeated pressure).

What causes torticollis?

It is diagnosed as congenital if it is caused by abnormal positioning of the fetus while still in the womb. This could be due to malposition like being breech or lowered amniotic fluid. It could also be considered congenital if it is caused by a genetic condition that affects the muscular system.

However, the most common form is acquired. The most common cause of acquired torticollis is birth trauma. The amount of pulling and twisting on an infant's head, neck, and spine that occurs is significant and many times leaves the child with a subluxation, or misalignment, that then contributes to the torticollis. This is significantly worse if there was a birth intervention, such as: forceps, vacuum extraction, and c-section.

The more severe and apparent the torticollis, the more severe the subluxations patterns likely are for the child.

Here are 3 steps to help it change quickly!

1. Get is assessed and measured by a Pediatric Chiropractor

2. Make sure baby has plenty of tummy time

3. Don’t get them walking or into walker equipment too soon

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