Living with Torticollis

Posted on: October 31, 2011

When our son was just a few weeks old, his pediatrician diagnosed him with Congenital Muscular Torticollis.  This type of Torticollis is a twisted neck in which the head is tipped to one side, while the chin is turned to the other.  This causes the muscles on one side to stretch while the muscles on the opposite side of the neck become very tight.  If not treated, the child could need corrective surgery.  
Our pediatrician told us that “G” would need to go to physical therapy and that he should start right away in order to ensure he would not need surgery down the line.  As a parent, especially a first time parent, this was very overwhelming to both my husband and I.  We had never heard of Torticollis before and the thought of our newborn baby needing surgery was extremely frightening.  The doctor reassured us that with physical therapy and regular exercises, the Torticollis could be corrected.

“G” started physical therapy just a couple of weeks later.  We weren’t sure what to expect going in but were quickly put at ease by the therapist.  She told us Torticollis is common in babies and can be corrected as long as we do the therapy exercises with him at home.  So, that’s what we began to do.

We started taking our little monkey to PT once a week.  The therapist works with him for an hour while we watch and then tells us what to work on with him at home.  She also shows us how to perform the stretches/exercises on “G”. 

The sessions and exercises have gone in a progression.  At the beginning, the therapist did a lot of stretching his neck and tummy time.  Those were also the type of exercises we did with him at home (tummy time is extremely important for all babies because it helps them learn to lift their heads and it strengthens their muscles).

Gradually, the therapist moved into doing different exercises with “G” instead of stretching alone.  She has also worked with him on meeting his milestones (rolling over, sitting up, crawling, cruising).  The older he gets, the more he progresses and his exercises and activities in therapy and at home change.

“G” has come a LONG way.  When you look at him, you can’t even tell he has Torticollis anymore.  His neck is very straight and he doesn’t tip it to the side any longer.However, he will continue to go to PT until he is walking on his own.  Torticollis babies sometimes walk on their toes, instead of their whole foot, so he needs to attend PT until he begins to walk to ensure he walks correctly.

Weekly therapy sessions and at home exercises are just a part of our life now.  It’s what we need to do in order to make sure “G” heals and develops correctly.  I wouldn’t say it’s an extremely hard situation to deal with when you compare Torticollis to things like Autism and Cerebral Palsey.  But, it is still a serious medical condition that needs to be addressed in order to avoid problems down the road for your child as well as corrective surgery.

If you are looking for information on Tortocollis the websites below are a good place to start.  As always though, please consult your child’s pediatrician to receive the best and most accurate information.

2 Responses to "Living with Torticollis"

Leah, thank you so much for sharing this with your readers, I had no idea this condition existed. It is much better to be informed now since we are expanding our family and good to know these types of conditions happen in our children! You have been dealing with alot over his first year, you are one strong momma. One day at a time 😉

You’re welcome Ranay! Thanks for your comment. I think it’s important to share these types of things so that parents out there have all the information they can.

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