Torticollis is a very common condition which people commonly call 'wry neck' in babies.
There can be a number of reasons why adults get Torticollis but the cause in babies is it not always very clear. Most experts believe it is can be due to the position the baby has been lying in the uterus or due to the birth process. As a paediatric cranial osteopath I see a number of babies with torticollis in my surgery and the majority can be helped very quickly within one or two sessions.
The most common feature is that the baby prefers to rotate their head to one side and not the other. Breast feeding mothers may notice that their baby prefers to feed from one side. (Babies that have difficulty turning their head to the left generally find it more difficult to feed from their mother's right breast).
The importance about detecting this condition early is that if the baby spends time on their back (hence complying to the back to sleep campaign) with the head rotated to one side the baby will invariably develop a flattening of the head on that side. This is called positional plagiocephaly. Once a flat spot develops in a babies skull bones, it becomes even more difficult to correct as gravity keeps bringing the head back onto the flat spot, thereby making it worse. I can strongly recommend a SleepCurve mattress to support your baby's head and minimise the likelihood of plagiocephaly.
Symptoms are usually an abnormal head or neck position. and one or more of the following:
- crying due to neck pain
- a noticeable tendency to look in one direction
- may prefer to roll in one direction
- the babies head leans towards the shoulder or forwards
- the neck appears a little twisted, thickend or swollen on one side
- unequal shoulder heights
- a difficulty in rotating their head to one side (eg during feeding)
If you suspect that your baby has Torticollis you should seek advice from your midwife, doctor or specialist osteopath.
This website has information about the causes and treatment of Torticollis in babies which we hope you will find useful.