“Torticollis” is not a fancy name for a turtle or a pastry! It is actually an acute, congenital or acquired condition affecting the muscles in a person’s neck. Torticollis  is characterized by a tilt of the head to one side with the chin turned to the opposite side. Adults may suffer from the condition secondary to a muscle spasm, but it most often appears among children as an acquired condition.
Torticollis  occurs when the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle becomes shortened, and it is often seen in babies who are positioned in the same manner for prolonged periods of time over the first six months of life, when they are achieving head control. If infants do not spend enough time on their bellies or are always held with their head turned to one side, they may end up with a tight muscle on the side where their head is always turned.
Here are some recommendations from the Good Shepherd Physical Therapy staff  to prevent torticollis:
If you notice that your child holds his or her head tilted to one side and/or rotated to the other, or if he or she appears to be unable to turn his head to one side easily, it is important to have the infant evaluated by a medical professional. Therapy will involve exercises to achieve a stretch to the tightened (non-preferred) side.
It is important to address torticollis  early since the condition can lead to facial asymmetries, a flattened head and visual field/gaze deficits. If your child shows signs of this condition, be sure to contact your pediatrician to receive a referral to a physical therapist  for evaluation. The staff of Good Shepherd’s Pediatrics Program  can help by providing expert evaluation and outpatient therapy to resolve this condition.