The exact cause of torticollis ('twisted neck') in infants is unknown. Among others, an abnormal position in the womb is suspected. The newborn's head is permanently tilted to one side and twisted slightly. Babies can be encouraged to turn their head to the other side by positioning them in such a way that they have to turn to hear you speak.
Often, symptoms can be seen immediately after birth. They can also develop during the first months of life.
- Head is tilted towards the shoulder on one side
- Often the head is also twisted (chin points slightly upwards)
- Palpable thickening of the muscle on the side of the neck
Causes and treatment
The exact cause is unknown
- Shortening of the muscle on one side of the neck (sternocleidomastoid muscle)
- An abnormal position in the womb is suspected
- Already exists before birth (NO birth trauma)
Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital
- X-ray of cervical spine
- Rarely, surgery (cutting through the shortened muscle)
What can I do myself?
- Increasingly position the child so that it has to turn its head in the other direction
- Often speak to the child from this side to encourage it to turn its head in the other direction
When to see a doctor?
- Child always holds its head on one side