By January 27, 2011General

What is Torticollis?

Torticollis means “twisted neck,” and if a child has this condition, her head will be tilted to one side while the chin is turned to the other side. It’s also sometimes called wryneck. While it may look painful, it usually isn’t.

When a baby is born with the condition, it’s called congenital torticollis. (There’s also a condition called acquired torticollis that can develop at a later time. In some cases of acquired torticollis, the chin may be turned to the same side as the head.)

About 1 in 250 infants are born with torticollis. (Ten to 20 percent of babies with torticollis also have hip dysplasia, in which the hip joint is malformed.)

Congenital – present at birth

Muscular – affecting the muscles

Torticollis – literally means ‘twisted neck’

There are many causes of torticollis and not all of them are muscular problems. Torticollis can also be caused, albeit rarely, by bony abnormalities in the spine, vision problems (Ocular Torticollis) or neurological imbalance (Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis). Congenital Muscular Torticollis (CMT) is, by far, the most common form in infants.

What causes congenital torticollis?

Congenital torticollis is most often due to tightness in the muscle that connects the breastbone and the collarbone to the skull. (It’s called the sternocleidomastoid muscle). This is called congenital muscular torticollis. This tightness might have developed because of the way your baby was positioned in the uterus (with the head tilted to one side) or because the muscles were damaged during delivery.

If you or anyone you know has a child diagnosed with torticollis, we can help with treatment. Please call our offices today for a free 15 minute evaluation (818) 343-3900.


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