Torticollis in Babies: What You Need to Know

Head shape

As a parent, it can be worrying to see your baby experience any kind of discomfort or health issue. One condition that can affect babies is torticollis, which is characterized by a twisted neck or a neck that tilts to one side. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for torticollis can help you provide the best care for your little one.

Causes of Torticollis

Torticollis can be present at birth, known as congenital torticollis, or develop later on, 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 in the baby’s neck during childbirth. Acquired torticollis can be the result of an injury, infection, or tumor in the neck.

Symptoms of Torticollis

The most obvious symptom of torticollis is a tilted or twisted neck. You may also notice that your baby has difficulty turning their head to one side, and their neck muscles may feel tight or swollen on one side. In some cases, torticollis may also cause a flat spot to develop on the baby’s head due to their preferred head position.

Treatment for Torticollis

If you suspect that your baby has torticollis, it’s important to consult with their pediatrician. Treatment for torticollis may include physical therapy, stretching exercises, and gentle massage to help loosen the tight neck muscles. In some cases, the pediatrician may also recommend a special helmet to help correct any flat spots on the baby’s head. Severe cases of torticollis may require surgery to release the tight neck muscles.

Preventing Torticollis

While not all cases of torticollis can be prevented, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk. Encouraging tummy time when your baby is awake and supervised can help prevent flat spots on their head and promote healthy neck muscle development. You can also vary the position of your baby’s head while they sleep to prevent them from favoring one side.

When to Seek Medical Help

If you notice that your baby consistently holds their head to one side, has difficulty turning their head in both directions, or if you notice a lump or swelling in their neck, it’s important to seek medical help. Early intervention and treatment can help prevent long-term complications and promote healthy development.


While torticollis can be a concerning condition, with proper medical care and treatment, most babies can make a full recovery. By staying informed about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for torticollis, you can provide the best care for your little one and help them thrive.


Q: Can torticollis affect my baby’s development?

A: In some cases, severe torticollis can lead to developmental delays, but with early intervention and treatment, most babies can develop normally.

Q: How long does it take to treat torticollis?

A: The duration of treatment for torticollis can vary depending on the severity of the condition, but with consistent therapy, most babies show improvement within a few months.

Q: Are there any long-term effects of torticollis?

A: With proper treatment, most babies do not experience long-term effects from torticollis. However, severe or untreated cases can lead to lasting neck muscle tightness and limited range of motion.