Anyone Else Dealt with Torticollis?

Updated on January 28, 2008
K.M. asks from Las Vegas, NV
26 answers

I have 6 month old twin girls and one of my girls has torticollis. She started physical therapy when she was 3 months old, twice a week. Her physical therapist is wonderful but has not given me any idea of how long she will be in physical therapy. Does anyone else have/had any children w/ torticollis? I thought therapy would only be a couple months. Anyone have any idea how long a child is typically in physical therapy for torticollis. My daughter is still not turning her head as well as I had hoped by now either, which is a little disheartening. Thanks in advance everyone.

K.

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R.C.

answers from Las Vegas on

My son had torticollis. We were taught to do the PT on him at home and we did it for about 5 months.

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R.K.

answers from Grand Junction on

I agree with the chiropractor advice. I get this every once in a while. It is so very painful and crippling. I am usually better with one or two adjustments. Look for one that treats children and infants. ((HUGS))

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V.H.

answers from Phoenix on

My 4 yr old had it when he was born and was in PT ffrom 2 months to 14 months. No signs of it now. My second son who is now 7 months had a small case if it when he was born but I had been seeing a Chiropractor for a year and I asked him to adjust him and now he shows no sign. I am thankful for my Chiro!! You should look into it. I can give you his name and number if you would like. Just email me!!

V.

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L.B.

answers from Denver on

My now 4 year old daughter, was diagnosed with torticollis at 2 months of age, thanks to her grandma figuring out that her head was turned the same way in every photo. We talked to her pediatrician about it, and she started Physical Therapy with Children's Hospital at 2 months of age. She went 3 times per week, and I worked with her at home daily. We did lots of stretches and I tried to make it fun with kisses and playing to encourage the stretching and head turning. She was in PT for much of her first year. She also had reflux and had to be upright for sleep, etc., so we had a hard time countering the torticollis. She was supposed to avoid the bouncy chair, carseat, etc. (any upright positions) until she could hold up her head on her own, which was delayed due to the torticollis. I suggest caution with the chiroprator idea, just because we tried both, and the chiropractor we used hurt her and we had a big set back. If you over-stretch or the baby resists the stretch, you have the opposite effect, and you will strengthen the wrong muscles and/or cause spasms for your little one. So don't overdo the stretches. Hang in there, she will improve, and remember if she's cranky, it could be because she has spasms. It feels like when you sleep wrong on your neck and you can't turn your head all day.

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K.M.

answers from Flagstaff on

Hello K.,
I am just now going through the last two weeks of Mamasource requests...I am professionally involved in "Torticollis problems". I am a trained MD, but have left Western Medicine. Today I work as a Spiritual Hands-on Healer and part of my work is actual anatomical, physical release work. I collaborate on patients with a friend, who is a trained Osteopathic Healer and we exchange a lot of our experience with patients to learn together.
I would recommend you, too, to look at the www.upledger.com website to find somebody with a combination of different trainings - IMT (integrated manual therapy) could be one title for the person, cranio-sacral training is another very good one...I'd be cautious with a chiropractic approach, there are way more structures, connective tissues in the brain, involved in torticollis...structures that are under traction, because of adhesions or impingements...PT can change the appearance of the torticollis, but many times I've found that the body adapts and and shifts the "troubles" into areas, where they appear only years and years later. (Digestive tract, traction on vessels and organs)
The earlier you can find someone who is able to gently release the affected structures, the better!
Good Luck K. von Merveldt-Guevara
NB: Feel free to contact me at [email protected]____.com

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H.B.

answers from Denver on

My daughter had it. She was in different therapies until she was four years. It affected not only her physcial neck but ending up affecting her speech and other developmental things such as crwaling late and walikng late etc. She was only a few months beyond on things...Good news she is now 7 and has no sign of any delays!

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K.M.

answers from Denver on

My daughter had torticollis. She was a 31 week preemie, and she started PT for her neck at about 10 months old. She was in PT for 6 months. The tort didn't respond as quickly as they had hoped, so they did x-rays of her neck to make sure there wasn't another problem. She got better, but for several months after PT stopped, she would still let her head tilt if she was tired.

Do you have exercises to do at home every day? We had a bunch of exercises, and when she was in her swing or carseat we would use a rolled up receiving blanket to prop her head straight.

-K.

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A.B.

answers from Fort Collins on

My son Zach had torticollis as a very small infant. He always held his head to one side and did not turn it well. We went to a Physical Therapist, once a week for 5 weeks. She massaged his neck and stretched it and taught us how to stretch it at home. He also has gone to a chiropractor once a month since birth, but I think the PT helped and since then he has not had any side effects.

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R.B.

answers from Phoenix on

I also agree that cranail sacral therapy would be your best option. It has been the most effective as well as the quickest way to resolve torticollis. If you go to www.upledger.com you can find a therapist close to you. Best of luck.
R.

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K.R.

answers from Denver on

Hi - My (now 6 year old) daughter had torticollis and started having physical therapy when she was about 3 months old, as well. She continued through much of her first year.

You just have to keep going and work with her at home as much as you can; it will get better. By the time my daughter was a year old, she had almost full range of motion and soon had full range.

I still look back at pictures of her first year and her cute little head is always tilting off to the side! I had forgotten how bad it was for a while.

Good luck and just keep workign with her!

Kris

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B.D.

answers from Colorado Springs on

My children didn't have it but I have two very close friends whose babies did and in both cases the doctors told them it would be months of physical therapy and they opted to see a chiropractor and after two or three visits both babies could move their necks just fine. The second friend didn't believe in chiropratic until it helped her baby after only a couple visits.

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K.D.

answers from Denver on

Does your daughter possibly have reflux as well? Our sons torticollis went away shortly after we started treating his reflux. Good luck with all that love! Sounds like a lot of fun.

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D.B.

answers from Phoenix on

Have you tried taking her to a chiropractor that works with Children? I have seen many babies respond beautifully to chiropractic care. It is helped my kids tremendously!

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K.

answers from Phoenix on

My son was born with torticollis, He just turned 4. We started doing PT at home 5 times a day when he was 2 months old and started taking him to the chiropractor at 5 wks. He started 2 times a week PT at 7 mos and continued until he was 22 months. We still work with hm on strength. His might have been worse than your daughter's though. The good news is, now you cannot tell he had it. He also had to have a DOC band on his head for about 4 mons (6-10 mons old), because his head was severely misshapen from the torticollis. Ask your PT therapist if you can also do some exercises at home to help. Good luck!

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J.H.

answers from Denver on

One thing that might work wonders for your daughter would be to look in to Cranial Sacral therapy. It is a gentle treatment that young kids usually respond very well to, just check around for practitioners who are familiar with infants. One place to find practitioners is Upledger.com - I usually look for the ones who have had the most training! Good luck.

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I.C.

answers from Denver on

My son had torticollis when he was around 2-3 months old. We were referred to a great cranio-sacral practicioner by our postpartum doula. After 2 cranio-sacral sessions my sons lump in his neck was gone and he could fully move his head. Let me know if you would like her name and number.

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D.G.

answers from Tucson on

Hi K.,
One thing you might try is a C-1 release. Have your daughter lie on her back where you can stand at her head. Place you fingers under her head at the top of the neck. Fingers of both hands touching, facing out, very gently lift up toward the top of the head and out towards the ears. Hold for up to one minute and repeat several times a day.
I was taught this by Dr. Jeff Bealey in Benson as a way to release birth trauma.
I am a midwife with two books of birth stories published and invite you to check out my website, www.inspiringbirthstories.com
I hope this helps and would love to hear back from you.
D.

[email protected]____.com

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J.T.

answers from Albuquerque on

My daughter is now 15 months and she also had torticollis. We took her to PT, but stopped going after a few times. I really concentrated on working on the exercises at home. She out grew it over time and now you wouldn't even know she had it. My suggestion would be to keep working with her at home...ie prop her on the "bad" side while sleeping, place toys to the "bad" side, and if you are breast feeding her try to face her so she has to turn her neck. Also gently turn her head whenever you are thinking about it. Let me know if you have other questions. Where are you taking her to PT?

J. T.

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B.R.

answers from Denver on

My son had torticollis. We did some PT at Children's and then we just kept it up at home. I spent my time putting him on one side, speaking into one ear, rattling toys on one side, etc. for a couple of months. It did resolve with some work. I would bring everything up with your pediatrician again if you still have concerns. It may not hurt to get a second opinion either.

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M.M.

answers from Albuquerque on

The length of time spent in PT or OT (as we had both) will depend on the severity of the problem (my son's was minor, whereas some kid's head sits on their shoulder). Also, the length will depend on how often your child is seen. My son had active therapy for about 4 months and then has had a monthly check-in for another 5 and he has just been discharged. Most of the time it comes down to the stretches. They have shown that most of the time Torticollis is curable by PT, however, in severe cases surgery may be needed to loosen up the damaged tissue. Also, if he has any flattening of the head that may be your next issue. My son's is resolving itself and I've had doctors that were both for and against helmets. If there is any flattening it becomes an issue if/when it may distort the location of things within the head which can affect facial features, etc. I looked at the helmet as a last resort. Be strong, do exercises..learn the stretches to do with your little girl and a little baby massage is a good thing too. Depending on where you go there may be someone there that can teach you infant massage. Good Luck!

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D.S.

answers from Albuquerque on

My daughter also had torticollis with a mishaped head. I took her to a specialist who just gave us some excercises to do with her. I also took her to a Chiropractor and I worked on putting her in her crib so that the side she couldn't turn to would be toward the outside (where I stood) and not the wall. Babies have a tendancy to want to turn away from looking at a wall. After about 3 or 4 months, her head started to round out and her head no longer tilted. I don't know what kind of doctor you have her going to, but you may want to try a chiropractor. It worked for my daughter.

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M.C.

answers from Albany on

I have two friends with different experiences. One has a daughter who was in therapy for around 8 years. Another friend has a boy who was in therapy for 18months. I think the length varies widely depending on your specific circumstance and other factors.

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C.S.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hi K.,

My son had torticollis when he was a baby - and my husband is a physical therapist, so I didn't ever actually take him to the clinic for therapy. I think it had pretty much disappeared by the time he could sit up on his own, which was about 6 or 7 months. Has the PT told you the things you should be doing at home? i.e, lots of tummy time - she won't like it, but it really works; also, to roll up a small towel or blanket and when she is in her car seat, swing, or on her back, place the roll against her head on the side that she favors so that it will keep her head straight. One other suggestion is to lay her down facing away from you (so you're on her weak side) and then try to get her attention, so she'll have to turn her head towards you.

I hope that helps, and good luck with your three little ones!

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A.O.

answers from Denver on

I havent had a child with torticollis but I have had it and let me tell you it is not fun. With intensive therapy, massage and chiropractic it took me a couple of weeks to recover. I am not sure if it is different in children than adults but I would highly recommend adding massage therapy and chiropractic to the physical therapy. Dr Spresser, in Arvada ###-###-####) is a great chiropractor and very good with children and infants and would give you good suggestions on a massage therapist that could help as well to loosen those muscles. Good luck!

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M.L.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi K.,
My son has torticollis on the left side. We noticed when he was 2 months old that he was favoring his right side and would pretty much only turn to the right. At his 4 month checkup his pediatrician recommended physical therapy. We started at 5 months (that's how long it took to get an appt). At the first appointment, it was encouraging since we had already started trying to force him to look to the left. At his second session, his physical therapist was encouraged by how much he was turning to the left - he had full rotation. We just force him to look to the left by holding out toys and we use his big brother as a good distraction for him since he loves looking at his big brother :) I also think the massages we gave him worked really well. If you want the number for our physical therapist, please let me know. She is wonderful with babies and my son really took to her :) It will get better, it just takes some time :)

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M.T.

answers from Albuquerque on

Hi girl! I have never met anyone else that even know what torticollis is! My daughter, who is now 5, had it as a baby. We took her to physical therapy one time. The therapist informed me, everything she was doing with her I could do at home. She had us laying the baby on her back and dangling toys to make her look the uncomfortable direction. She also encouraged me to nurse as much as possible on the side that make her look that way. I am not telling you to stop taking her to therapy, but you might just ask if it is totally necessary. As my little girl grew and developed and began crawling and walking the problem disapeared. Hope this helps!
By the way, congrats on the babies! You sound like a great mama to all 3!
M.

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