An infant head tilt is often referred to as Torticollis in infants or infant torticollis. An infant head tilt can be caused by a lack of space in the womb, difficult labor, or the baby’s positioning, which favors one side.
Over time, the neck muscle on the side with the tilt will become tight and shortened. Whereas the muscles on the side opposite the baby’s head tilt, become weak and lengthened. Once this occurs, physical therapy intervention is needed to stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak muscles.
As early intervention professionals, we recommend being seen by a specialist or a physical therapist to address the concern of your baby’s head tilt. The earlier we can encourage stretching and strengthening the muscles, the less likely for long-term conditions.
If left untreated, children can develop other conditions:
- Plagiocephaly: flattening of the skull causing a flat spot on the side of the head the child tends to put more pressure on while lying down. This can sometimes be referenced as flat head syndrome.
- Facial asymmetries: eye, cheek, mouth, ear, and jawline
- Delayed motor development: neck muscle imbalances, balance deficits, postural shifts
- Scoliosis: which is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine.
- Delayed cognitive development: limited ability to turn the head to see, hear, and interact.
- Developmental hip dysplasia
A well-rounded physical therapy approach to treating a head tilt is beneficial for children with Torticollis. They can improve neck motion and position, meet developmental milestones on time, and parents can understand how to care for their child.
Are you noticing your baby has a preference to look one way compared to the other? Does your baby have a head tilt? Are they becoming delayed in their motor skills? How is Torticollis treated? We understand that exploring the possibility of your baby having Torticollis can be overwhelming. We are here to help and are cheering for you.
Click the link below to schedule a free consultation with one of our excellent physical therapists. They can answer all your questions and address any concerns about head tilt, also known as infant torticollis.