Congenital torticollis, what can we do to improve their situation?

The health of children is a subject that can never be completely controlled. While parents can prevent numerous problems taking care of their children's food, sheltering them from the cold or practicing exercise, there are many others who simply appear. This is the case of hereditary torticollis, which appears due to an injury that occurred inside the uterus.

A problem that can make life difficult for the little one in such a important for him as breastfeeding and cause constant pain. For this reason, this injury must be taken care of and solved in order to make the baby's day-to-day better, saving him the inconvenience caused and ensuring that he can receive this food that is so important for him during the first days.


Fetus posture

As indicated by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, AEP, the congenital torticollis is noticed when the baby's head is tilted to the side and the chin points to the opposite. The adjective 'congenital' refers to children born with this condition, although it can take up to 2 months to develop. It is very common in newborns and responds to a lesion of the sternocleidomastoid muscle.

The injury may be due to a bad position of the fetus inside the uterus or to a difficult delivery or in which the use of instruments such as forceps, suction cup, etc. has been required. There are times when parents can feel a small nodule at the sternocleidomastoid level, a muscle that is positioned on the side of the baby's neck.


The main consequence for the child is the baby's tendency to always look in the same direction, having a limitation for turn the neck in the sense of his injury. This situation can hinder breastfeeding as well as causing a flattening on the side of the head where the baby rests more frequently, which is known in medicine as postural plagiocephaly.

There are times when torticollis in newborns can be associated with the dysplasia of hip, if the pediatrician suspects it, he will request an ultrasound in this area of ​​the body. In any case, if you notice the projection of the baby's gaze in one direction, it is important to see a specialist to confirm the diagnosis and start the corresponding treatment.

Treatment and future perspectives

The treatment will depend on the age of the child and the acuity of this injury. Physical exercises and Postural measurements they are sufficient in most cases to end this situation. The pediatrician, the rehabilitator or the physiotherapist will teach the parents some specific activities to do at home that will consist in mobilizing the neck in different directions. It is important to always follow the guidelines set by the professional.


Apart from these exercises, parents should to stimulate your baby to turn his head to the injured side. A good trick for this purpose is to rotate the crib so that you have to move your neck to the affected area to see your parents, showing you the toys on that side and offering the milk for the sense that it costs more work.

It is also advised to put the baby upside down while awake. In this way it will strengthen the muscles of the neck and back, avoiding the asymmetric flattening of the head. In the vast majority of cases, the evolution is good and the lesion can be completely solved, that is, without sequels or deformities.

If the evolution is not as expected, the pediatrician will value the need for complementary tests or referral to the appropriate specialist. It is worth mentioning that some cases, those that less, will require surgical treatment in order to treat this injury effectively.

Damián Montero

Video: Torticollis Breakdown


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