A.K. asks from Randolph, MA on June 07, 2011
Infant Torticollis - Randolph,MA
At my sons' 2-month well visit with his pediatrician the other day, I mentioned the fact that my son seems to always keep his head turned to one side. The doctor did a full exam and informed me that my son has torticollis, which is basically a tight neck muscle, which makes it hard to look to one side. It can also cause a flat head, due to the fact that the child always lays on a certain side. Does anyone have any experience with this or any helpful advice? I have him booked to see an occupational therapist next week but would like to help him with this at home in the meantime.
So What Happened?™
Thanks so much everyone for your helpful advice! A lot of what you all said was repeated today by the Occupational Therapist (stretching exercises, rolled up towels to keep head neutral, massage, etc.) She also said that I should try to hold him as often as possible in order to keep him out of the swings, bouncy seats, car seats, etc., which all add to the flat head and neck tightness. Coming home today, I realize this is easier said than done, but I'm going to do my best!
I appreciate everyone's advice very much. You all really helpd me!
S.G. answers from Boston on June 10, 2011
J.C. answers from Hartford on June 09, 2011
Definitely try chiropractic or craniosacral therapy. These types of things can be fixed pretty quickly with infants. My younger son had about 3 or 4 craniosacral sessions for what I thought was unusual tension in a baby. As a result of these sessions, he also stopped turning his head to one side and stopped fussing so much, clenching his fists all the time, etc.) Prior to that he always preferred turning his head to one side. He is now 2 and perfectly straight!
1 mom found this helpful
H.W. answers from Atlanta on June 07, 2011
The pediatrician told us it would take "several months" of OT plus exercises at home to correct the problem. We took our daughter (2 months old) to a chiropractor that specializes in pediatric care and the problem was gone in 2-3 visits. :)
1 mom found this helpful
H.S. answers from Boston on June 08, 2011
Hi! One of my twins deveoped torticollis (not uncommon, since they're so squished in there). We had a PT come out through EIP (Concord, for us), and he worked with her, but her head was still becoming misshapen - the whole right side of her head was moved forward. While this was happening, the whole "back to sleep" program had my son's head flattening in the back. So both ended up with plagiocephaly helmets - completely fine, no problems with it (I tell you this so that if the doctor mentions it...it's not a big deal). They looked like little racecar drivers for about 2 months.
R.S. answers from Providence on June 10, 2011
I'm a PT as well and have worked with infants with torticollis. Best advice is tummy time and simply using toys to get him to look in the opposite direction. Gentle stretching and massage to get him to turn in the opposite direction is good to. This is something that is generally completely treatable. If you do choose to seek a chiropractor, I recommend one that uses the CST method. Craniosacral is generally always a benifit, to most any problem, but insurance doesn't typically cover it. Good luck
T.J. answers from Seattle on June 07, 2011
Chiropractic! In addition to OT, tight muscles have probably been holding the spine in an improper position, and that is so much more easily corrected at this age. If left to grow I'm the improper position it can lead to scoiliosis or nerve impingement. Find one who is used to working with infants. My kids have been adjusted since day one!
K.P. answers from Springfield on June 08, 2011
Hi there. My sister's baby also had torticollis. She had to see a therapist, do lots of tummy time and she had to wear a helmet. Honestly, the helmet was very upsetting to my sister. She would cry to me about the constant stares and questions from strangers. Her therapist recommended the Cinis Baby Halo for any baby with torticollis. It helps relieve the pressure put on the baby's head on the flat spot. I had a baby 9 months after my sister and noticed my son was getting a flat spot and I got scared. I did not want my son to have to wear a helmet. I debated about purchasing it because it cost almost $100. After long thought, I thought $100 was worth it to know that I was doing all I could to make his head the right shape. I thought it was extra important for a boy to have a normal shaped head since he will have short hair all his life. We used it for several months and his head became beatifully shaped. Visit these link to see the halo if you are curious:
http://www.medgear.org/entry/cinis-baby-halo-a-remedy-to-... and http://www.cinispreemiehalo.com/About.html. Also you can email me with any questions. I know this must be a stressful time for you.
A.E. answers from Springfield on June 08, 2011
A.- I am a physical therapist and have seen a few infants with torticollis. Generally what you want to do at home is try to stretch your baby's neck the other way which you can do with positioning (try to hold him so he is turned that way, feed him in that direction etc). Also try to stretch him the other direction when he is sleeping and try to block his head from turning the usual way while in his carseat (can use rolled up towels etc). The kids I have seen have fully resolved without any issues so don't worry- this is a treatable problem! Good luck! A. ps. I agree with an earlier answer...I have never heard of an OT seeing a kiddo for this issue, always PT (so of course being a PT I would recommend a consult with a physical therapist!)
C.A. answers from New London on June 14, 2011
I know you posted this a while ago, but my daughter had this when she was little. I took her to my chiropractor and he said to do the exercises like your OT did, but he also said it's caused by a magnesium deficiency and gave me a magnesium cream to dab on her tight muscle. It was amazing how quickly the muscles relaxed from using both the cream and doing exercises. Hers was better in about a month. Something you can look into too. Good luck!