Congenital torticollis is the term used when a baby is born with a twisted neck that causes the baby’s head to turn to one side. It’s also called wryneck.
Congenital muscular torticollis is caused by a shortened neck muscle. Most often the muscle that is shortened is the one that goes across the neck from the collarbone to just behind the ear. The exact cause of the shortened neck muscle is not known. One theory is that the muscle stretched too much when the baby’s head was delivered at birth. Severe stretching can cause bleeding into the muscle. Pressure from bleeding and swelling can damage the muscle. Scar tissue then replaces some of the muscle, making the muscle shorter. Some other theories are that it is caused by crowding inside the uterus or a blood vessel problem.
Your child keeps his head turned in one direction.
Your child’s healthcare provider will examine your child.
Your healthcare provider will give you exercises to do with your baby to stretch and move the baby’s neck.
It can help to put a baby in a situation where the baby will have to use the affected muscle. For example, lay your baby in the crib so that if your baby wants to see what is going on in the room, he will have to turn the chin towards the shoulder of the affected side. This will stretch the muscle and help cure the problem.
Stretching and other exercises are usually the only treatment that is needed for congenital muscular torticollis. Your healthcare provider may refer you to a physical therapist to help see how well the treatment is working. In rare cases, surgery may be done.
Do the exercises recommended by your healthcare provider.
Ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when you should bring your child back for a checkup.