Torticollis in Babies: What Moms Need to Know


As a parent, it can be alarming to notice any changes in your baby’s health or development. Torticollis, also known as “wry neck,” is a condition that can affect babies, and it’s essential for moms to be aware of the signs, causes, and treatment options. Here’s what you need to know about torticollis in babies.

What is Torticollis?

Torticollis is a condition where the neck muscles, typically the sternocleidomastoid muscle, become tight or shortened, causing the neck to twist to one side. This can make it difficult for the baby to turn their head in both directions and may lead to a preference for looking in one direction. It can also result in a tilted head posture.

Signs of Torticollis

There are several signs that may indicate your baby has torticollis. These include:

  • Preference for looking in one direction

  • Difficulty turning their head to one side

  • Tilted head posture

  • Flat spot on the baby’s head (if torticollis leads to consistent pressure on one side of the head)

Causes of Torticollis

Torticollis can be present at birth (congenital) or develop shortly after birth (acquired). Some of the potential causes include:

  • Presentation in the womb that places pressure on the baby’s neck muscles

  • Birth trauma or injury to the neck muscles during delivery

  • Prolonged periods of time spent in the same position, such as lying in a crib or car seat

Treatment Options

Early detection and intervention are key to managing torticollis in babies. Treatment options may include:

  • Physical therapy and stretching exercises to help loosen the tight muscles

  • Encouraging the baby to change head positions while awake, such as during tummy time

  • Positioning techniques to minimize pressure on the flat spot, if present

  • In some cases, a physician may recommend a helmet to help reshape the baby’s head if a flat spot has formed

What Moms Can Do

If you suspect that your baby may have torticollis, it’s essential to consult with your pediatrician. They can evaluate your baby’s condition and recommend appropriate treatment. Additionally, you can:

  • Be mindful of your baby’s head positioning during sleep and play

  • Engage in activities that promote head movement and neck stretching, under the guidance of a healthcare professional

  • Seek support from other moms or groups who have experience with managing torticollis in babies

In Conclusion

Torticollis is a condition that can be effectively managed with early intervention and the appropriate treatment. By staying informed and seeking support from healthcare professionals, moms can help their babies overcome torticollis and ensure healthy development.


Q: Can torticollis cause long-term problems for my baby?

A: With early intervention and treatment, the majority of babies with torticollis can make a full recovery without long-term issues.

Q: Will my baby need surgery for torticollis?

A: Surgery is rarely needed for torticollis and is typically considered only after other conservative treatments have been ineffective.

Q: Can I prevent torticollis in my baby?

A: While some cases of torticollis are unavoidable, practicing safe sleeping habits and providing supervised tummy time can help reduce the risk.