What is torticollis?
Torticollis refers to asymmetric tilting of the head and neck to one side and may be caused by various factors. Congenital Muscular Torticollis (CMT) is the most common cause of torticollis in infants. It is a musculoskeletal condition typically observed at birth or in early infancy that results from unilateral fibrosis and shortening of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) (Karmel-Ross, 2006). It is the third most frequent musculoskeletal condition affecting infants with an incidence of 0.4% to 1.9% (Cooperman, 1997). CMT is commonly seen with associated musculoskeletal conditions such as metatarsus adductus, or in-toeing, and developmental hip dysplasia (Cooperman, 1997). Due to the positional preference, infants with torticollis may also have plagiocephaly, a flattening of the head. The incidence rates of plagiocephaly vary greatly between sources.
If left untreated, CMT can impact infant development. Achievement of many developmental milestones is dependent on the infant’s ability to explore their environment. However, CMT causes an unbalanced perception of the infant’s environment and self awareness that may cause asymmetries to develop.
What can a physical therapist do for torticollis?
The physical therapist will evaluate an infant with CMT to determine:
The plan of care varies for each patient based on the information obtained from the evaluation. The typical treatment plan involves just a few office visits and consists of several important elements including:
Physical therapy goals:
Pediatric physical therapy is provided by Katie Kober, PT, DPT at the Urbana office, 3500 Campus Drive, Suite 101