Understanding Torticollis: A Guide for Parents

Head shape

If you’ve noticed that your baby’s head is consistently tilted to one side or they have difficulty turning their head, they may be suffering from a condition called torticollis. As a parent, it’s important to understand what torticollis is, how it affects your child, and what you can do to help them.

What is Torticollis?

Torticollis, also known as “wry neck,” is a condition that affects the muscles of the neck, causing the head to tilt to one side and the chin to point to the opposite side. This can make it difficult for a baby to turn their head and may lead to flat spots developing on the skull if not addressed promptly.

Causes of Torticollis

Torticollis can be present at birth, known as congenital torticollis, or develop shortly after birth, known as acquired torticollis. Congenital torticollis can be caused by the baby’s position in the womb or by an injury to the muscles or blood supply during labor and delivery. Acquired torticollis can be caused by muscle spasms, inflammation, or a benign tumor in the neck.

Signs and Symptoms

Parents should look out for the following signs and symptoms of torticollis:

  • Head tilting to one side

  • Difficulty turning the head to the opposite side

  • One shoulder higher than the other

  • Flat spots developing on the skull

Treatment and Management

If you suspect that your baby has torticollis, it’s important to consult a pediatrician or a physical therapist for a proper diagnosis. Treatment may involve gentle stretching exercises, positioning techniques, and, in severe cases, surgery to release the tight muscles in the neck. It’s crucial to start treatment as early as possible to prevent long-term problems with your child’s development.

Supporting Your Child at Home

There are several things you can do at home to support your child with torticollis:

  • Encourage tummy time to help strengthen the neck muscles

  • Use toys and activities to encourage your baby to turn their head in both directions

  • Avoid always laying your baby in the same position

  • Use a firm mattress and avoid too much time in car seats or bouncers


While torticollis can be concerning for parents, with the right support and treatment, most children are able to fully recover. By staying informed and seeking appropriate care, you can help your child overcome this condition and prevent any long-term issues with their neck and development.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can torticollis affect my child’s development?

A: If left untreated, severe cases of torticollis can lead to developmental delays and problems with motor skills, so it’s important to seek treatment early.

Q: What can I do to prevent torticollis in my baby?

A: Providing varied and stimulating environments for your baby, including plenty of tummy time, can help prevent the development of torticollis.