Infant receiving osteopathic treatment of her head

Muscular Torticollis

Congenital muscular torticollis occurs in infants when the neck musculature is shortened at birth or shortly thereafter.

Physical therapy for muscular torticollis

Infants with muscular torticollis typically present with their chin pointing to one shoulder while the head tilts toward the opposite shoulder. Physical therapy for muscular torticollis can ensure that your infant can move their head properly, avoid a flat spot (plagiocephaly), and prevent permanent muscle tightening.

Causes of muscular torticollis

Muscular torticollis is usually caused by an infant’s position in the womb or trauma during birth. In addition to a head tilt, infants with this condition may not have as much head mobility as other babies. You may also notice a lump in the neck musculature.

Baby enjoying a physical therapy massage

Muscular torticollis symptoms

Infants suffering from muscular torticollis may experience the following symptoms:

  • Infant’s head tilts to one side while the chin tilts to the other
  • Limited range of motion in the head and neck
  • Neck muscle tightness or stiffness
Little baby receiving osteopathic treatment of her skull and neck

How we treat muscular torticollis

Physical therapy can help correct muscular torticollis and help avoid a delay in reaching developmental milestones, such as rolling over. Your child’s muscular torticollis treatment may include:

  • Gentle manual stretching
  • Infant stimulation to encourage movement and stretching
  • Use of gentle soft tissue massage
  • Parent education on exercises and positioning to do at home
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What to expect

Your first physical therapy appointment is about creating a personalized treatment plan based on your health history, diagnosis, and goals. Here’s what you can expect at your first physical therapy appointment:

Your first appointment will last about an hour. Please arrive 15 minutes early.

If applicable, bring your physician referral or prescription, insurance card, paperwork, ID, and co-payment.

At your appointment, we’ll do an initial evaluation and discuss your care plan.

*Services are not available at every location. Visit our Locations page for more details.