Have you noticed your infant’s head turning to one side more than the other or always resting in the same direction? If so, it may be a result of torticollis, which is a tightening of the neck muscles on one side only. It limits your baby’s ability to bend and turn his/her neck fully in one direction. Among babies, this can occur from positioning inside the womb.
If you catch it early, you can begin treatment, including Physical/Occupational Therapy, stretching and positioning. Early treatment is most effective for resolving torticollis without any residual problems.
Here are some problems that potentially can occur if torticollis is not diagnosed and treated right away. The head can become flattened on one side because infants sleep and lie down on their backs so much. If the torticollis remains for several months before treatment begins, the asymmetry of the head can remain permanently. One treatment to decrease such asymmetry is a helmet/orthosis, which is fitted and adjusted by a certified prosthetist/orthotist (CPO). This may be used for several months but not beyond the age of 2 (when the skull bones are fused).
Be sure to tell to the pediatrician at your baby’s initial well visits if you have noticed any head asymmetry or constant pull toward one side. Early intervention will produce the fastest recovery and prevent the need for more difficult treatments.