Torticollis 101: A Parent’s Essential Guide

Head shape

As a parent, it can be concerning when you notice that your baby has difficulty turning their head or seems to have a tilted posture. These could be signs of a condition called torticollis, which is fairly common in infants. Understanding what torticollis is and how to manage it can help you provide the best care for your little one.

What is Torticollis?

Torticollis, also known as “wry neck,” is a condition characterized by a tilt of the head to one side and difficulty turning the head. It can be present at birth (congenital) or develop shortly after (acquired). Congenital torticollis is often caused by positioning in the womb or a tight or shortened muscle on one side of the neck. Acquired torticollis can be caused by other underlying issues and may require further evaluation.

How is Torticollis Diagnosed?

If you suspect that your baby may have torticollis, it’s important to consult with your pediatrician. They will perform a physical examination to assess the range of motion in your baby’s neck and may suggest imaging tests if necessary. Early diagnosis is crucial for successful treatment, so don’t hesitate to seek medical attention.

Treatment Options

The good news is that torticollis is treatable, especially when addressed early. Your pediatrician may recommend gentle stretching exercises to help improve your baby’s neck mobility. They may also refer you to a physical therapist who can demonstrate the proper techniques for stretching and strengthening the affected muscles. In some cases, a pediatric orthopedic specialist may be consulted to explore other treatment options.

At-Home Care

Aside from the recommended exercises, there are things you can do at home to support your baby’s wellbeing. Be mindful of your baby’s positioning during sleep and playtime to encourage them to turn their head in both directions. Using toys and engaging your baby in activities that stimulate head movement can also be helpful.

Monitoring Progress

It’s important to monitor your baby’s progress and communicate any concerns with your healthcare provider. While most cases of torticollis improve with proper care, some may require additional interventions. Stay proactive and stay in close contact with your medical team throughout the treatment process.

Final Thoughts

Remember, torticollis is a common and manageable condition, and with the right support, your baby can overcome it. As a parent, your love and attention play a crucial role in helping your little one through this challenge. Stay informed, stay proactive, and stay positive.


Q: Is torticollis painful for my baby?

A: While torticollis itself is not typically painful, it can lead to discomfort or muscle tightness. Treatment aims to alleviate any discomfort and improve mobility.

Q: Will my baby outgrow torticollis?

A: With proper treatment and care, most babies show improvement and full resolution of torticollis over time. Early intervention is key.

Q: Can I do anything to prevent torticollis?

A: Positioning your baby in different ways during sleep and play, providing varied stimuli, and practicing tummy time can help prevent torticollis from developing.