Understanding Torticollis: How to Help Your Baby

Head shape

If your baby is experiencing stiffness or tightness in their neck muscles, they may have a condition called torticollis. Torticollis can be concerning for parents, but with the right knowledge and care, it can be managed effectively. Here’s what you need to know to help your little one.

What is Torticollis?

Torticollis, also known as “wry neck,” is a condition characterized by a twisted or tilted neck. It can be present at birth (congenital torticollis) or develop later on (acquired torticollis). In infants, torticollis often occurs due to positioning in the womb or from spending too much time in one position after birth. This can lead to tightness in the muscles on one side of the neck, causing the baby to tilt their head to one side.

How to Identify Torticollis

As a parent, it’s important to be aware of the signs of torticollis. Some common indicators include:

  • Preferential head tilting to one side

  • Difficulty turning the head in both directions

  • Stiffness in the neck muscles

Ways to Help Your Baby

Fortunately, there are several simple techniques and exercises that can help improve torticollis in your baby. These include:

  1. Gentle stretching: Engage in gentle stretching exercises with your baby to encourage flexibility in their neck muscles. These exercises should be done several times a day, and can include gently turning the baby’s head from side to side and holding the stretch for a few seconds.

  2. Tummy time: Implementing regular tummy time can help strengthen your baby’s neck muscles and encourage them to turn their head in different directions. Start with short periods of tummy time and gradually increase as your baby becomes more comfortable.

  3. Positioning: Be mindful of how you position your baby during sleep and play. Alternate the direction in which your baby’s head faces in the crib, and avoid always holding them on the same side of your body.

Seeking Professional Help

If your baby’s torticollis does not improve with home care, it’s important to seek guidance from a pediatrician or physical therapist. They can provide specialized exercises and techniques to address your baby’s specific needs and monitor their progress over time.


Understanding and addressing torticollis in your baby is essential for their comfort and development. By staying informed and implementing the appropriate strategies, you can help your little one overcome this condition and thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is torticollis painful for my baby?

A: While torticollis may cause some discomfort for your baby, it is not typically a painful condition. However, addressing it early can prevent further complications and ensure your baby’s comfort.

Q: How long does it take to see improvement with torticollis exercises?

A: The timeline for improvement can vary for each baby, but with consistent effort and care, many babies show significant improvement within a few weeks to months.