Congenital Torticollis, also known as Twisted Neck, is a condition that affects newborns and young infants. In congenital torticollis, the neck is tilted to one side and rotated, causing the head to face in a different direction than the body. This condition is caused by a tight muscle in the neck, known as the sternocleidomastoid muscle.
Causes of Congenital Torticollis
The exact cause of congenital torticollis is not known, but it is believed to occur due to a shortened sternocleidomastoid muscle during fetal development. Other possible causes include:
- Lack of space in the womb
- Difficult delivery or position in the womb
- Birth injury
Symptoms of Congenital Torticollis
The main symptom of congenital torticollis is a tilted or rotated head, causing the face to face in a different direction than the body. Other symptoms may include:
- Difficulty turning the head to one side
- A flat spot on one side of the head
- Asymmetrical head or neck growth
Diagnosis and Treatment of Congenital Torticollis
Congenital torticollis is typically diagnosed during a newborn physical examination, and treatment should start as soon as possible. Treatment for congenital torticollis may include:
Physical therapy: Exercises to improve the strength and flexibility of the neck and head muscles may be recommended.
Stretching: Gentle stretching of the neck and head muscles can help improve range of motion and reduce tightness.
Head positioning: Placing the head in a different position while sleeping and during tummy time can help prevent the development of a flat spot on the head and improve head and neck alignment.
Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the position of the neck and head.
With proper treatment, most children with congenital torticollis will be able to achieve normal head and neck alignment. Regular follow-up appointments with a healthcare provider are important to monitor progress and to address any concerns or questions you may have.
Living with Congenital Torticollis
Congenital torticollis is a treatable condition, and with proper care, most children with this condition will be able to live active and healthy lives. It is important to work closely with a healthcare provider to ensure the best possible outcome, and to address any concerns or questions you may have about living with congenital torticollis.