Unraveling the Mystery of Torticollis for Parents

Head shape

Unraveling the Mystery of Torticollis for Parents

As a parent, you may have heard the term “torticollis” before, but might not fully understand what it means. If your child has been diagnosed with torticollis, or if you suspect they may have it, it’s important to educate yourself on this condition in order to provide the best care for your little one.

Torticollis, also known as “wry neck,” is a condition where the neck muscles cause the head to tilt to one side. It can be present at birth (congenital torticollis) or develop later on (acquired torticollis). The good news is that with proper treatment and exercises, most cases of torticollis can be improved or completely resolved.

Causes of Torticollis

Congenital torticollis can occur due to the baby’s position in the womb or from trauma during childbirth. Acquired torticollis can be caused by muscle or nerve damage, an infection, a tumor, or other underlying medical conditions. In some cases, the exact cause may not be clear.

Signs and Symptoms

The most obvious sign of torticollis is a tilt or rotation of the head to one side. You may also notice that your baby has difficulty turning their head in certain directions or prefers to breastfeed on one side only. Over time, untreated torticollis can lead to a flat spot on the baby’s head and uneven facial features due to the constant pressure on one side.

Treatment and Physical Therapy

If you suspect your child has torticollis, it’s important to consult with a pediatrician or a physical therapist. They can provide a proper diagnosis and create a treatment plan tailored to your child’s needs. Treatment often involves stretching and strengthening exercises for the affected neck muscles, as well as techniques to encourage your baby to turn their head in both directions. In some cases, a referral to a specialist may be necessary.

At-home Care

In addition to professional treatment, there are things you can do at home to help your child with torticollis. Encourage them to play and interact with toys that require them to turn their head in different directions. Tummy time is also beneficial, as it helps strengthen the neck muscles and prevents flat spots on the head. Be sure to alternate the side where your baby rests their head during sleep as well.

Myths vs. Facts

Myth: Torticollis will resolve on its own without any intervention. Fact: While some cases of torticollis may improve without treatment, it’s important to seek professional advice to ensure proper management.

Myth: Torticollis only affects babies. Fact: While it is more common in infants, torticollis can occur in older children and adults as well.

Myth: Torticollis is purely a muscle problem. Fact: While muscle imbalance is a major factor, torticollis can also be caused by other underlying conditions.


As a parent, it’s natural to be concerned if your child has been diagnosed with torticollis. However, with the right treatment and care, most cases can be managed effectively. By staying informed and working closely with healthcare professionals, you can help your child overcome this condition and ensure their healthy development.


Q: Can torticollis lead to long-term complications?

A: With proper treatment, most cases of torticollis do not result in long-term complications. However, untreated torticollis can lead to developmental delays and musculoskeletal issues.

Q: Does my child need surgery for torticollis?

A: In most cases, surgery is not necessary. Physical therapy and exercises are the mainstays of treatment for torticollis. Surgery may be considered if other interventions are not effective.

Q: Can I prevent torticollis in my baby?

A: While some cases of torticollis cannot be prevented, you can minimize the risk by regularly changing your baby’s head position during sleep and encouraging tummy time during awake hours.