Torticollis Awareness: What Parents Need to Know

Head shape

Dear parents,

If you’ve noticed that your infant or young child has difficulty turning their head or prefers to keep it tilted to one side, they might be experiencing a condition called torticollis. Torticollis, also known as wry neck, is a relatively common condition in infants and can be concerning for parents. However, with proper awareness and understanding, it can be effectively managed and treated.

What is Torticollis?

Torticollis is a condition characterized by a shortening or tightening of the muscles in one side 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 the child to turn their head in both directions and can lead to a flattened area on one side of the head or face.

Causes of Torticollis

Torticollis can be present at birth (congenital) or develop shortly after (acquired). Congenital torticollis may be caused by the baby’s position in the womb or by injury to the muscles or blood supply during birth. Acquired torticollis can be caused by a variety of factors, including muscle spasms, injury, or abnormalities in the cervical spine.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs of torticollis in infants and young children may include:

  • Preference for looking in one direction

  • Difficulty turning the head in both directions

  • Tilted head and chin pointing to one side

  • Flat spot on one side of the head

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect your child may have torticollis, it’s important to consult with their pediatrician. The doctor will conduct a physical examination and may recommend imaging tests to determine the underlying cause of the condition. Treatment for torticollis may include physical therapy, stretching exercises, positioning techniques, and, in some cases, surgery. Early intervention is key to effectively managing and treating torticollis.


While some cases of torticollis cannot be prevented, there are steps parents can take to reduce the risk, such as:

  • Encouraging tummy time to strengthen neck and shoulder muscles

  • Varying the baby’s position during sleep and playtime

  • Ensuring proper support for the baby’s head and neck during feeding and carrying


By understanding the signs, causes, and treatment options for torticollis, parents can play a proactive role in their child’s health and well-being. If you have concerns about your child’s head and neck movements, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a healthcare professional. With the right support, children with torticollis can thrive and develop normally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is torticollis a serious condition?

A: While torticollis can be concerning for parents, with proper intervention and treatment, the outlook is generally positive, and most children with torticollis can achieve full range of motion in their neck.

Q: Can torticollis be painful for the child?

A: In many cases, torticollis is not painful for the child, but it can cause discomfort if left untreated. It’s important to address the condition early to prevent any potential pain or complications.

Q: Are there long-term effects of torticollis?

A: With appropriate treatment and therapy, most children with torticollis can fully recover without long-term effects on their physical development or well-being.