Torticollis

Meet Brooks, a 4 month old who was diagnosed with right-sided Torticollis at 7 weeks old. Torticollis is a congenital muscular tightness in which the infant’s head is turned to one side and has the inability to turn in the opposite direction due to a tight and shortened sternocleidomastoid muscle. In most cases parents notice once the head has started to flatten on one side of their skull, it often protrudes at the front of the skull as well. Brooks’ parents promptly brought Brooks into Premier as prescribed by their doctor for his diagnosis. First time parents, Sierra and Justin, worried about Brooks’ head shape and getting full cervical (neck) range of motion. Many of you may have seen infants wearing helmets that are usually adorned in stickers and fun colors, these are used to reshape the infants skull back to its desired shape. Sierra and Justin plan to purchase a Torticollis helmet soon, but in the meantime have been using a Torticollis beanie during sleep to help.

In most cases therapists will focus on stretching for cervical rotation and lateral lean with a home program in plan for the patients. I, however, was able to attend a course in Boston in April in which I learned multiple ways to use kinesiotape, rigid tape, and other tapes for pediatric patients. I have been able to use these techniques on my pediatric and adult patients since the class. With Brooks, I focused on applying kinesiotape to facilitate his left sternocleidomastoid muscle, while also inhibiting and lengthening his right sternocleidomastoid. This has significantly helped reduce his pain with head movements, along with increasing strength of his left cervical muscles. Since starting PT, Brooks has learned to control his head and roll over along with meeting many other developmental milestones.

In the video below you will notice Brooks has 75% left cervical rotation during tummy time, when he first arrived he was in pain and cried with attempting just a neutral position. The picture where Brooks is wearing a superman shirt was from one of his first visits when he was unable to get to a neutral position. The tape pictures are also from around this time as well. Brooks is my first patient with Torticollis, but I hope to have many more in the future! Thank you to Sierra and Justin for letting me share their story to inform other parents about this very common, but often unheard of diagnosis by first time parents.