Torticollis is a common disorder which can easily be treated if diagnosed at an early stage. Learn about the different types of wry neck condition that can affect infants.

Infants Torticollis

Parenting may be a satisfying and blissful experience, but it brings with it a lot of responsibilities. You need to keenly monitor every aspect of your child’s development. You must be aware of any ailments or medical conditions that might affect your kid. One such condition is infant torticollis. Torticollis, also known as wry neck, refers to the condition in which the neck is tilted towards one side, while the chin is tilted towards another side. Torticollis is usually caused when the body is wrongly positioned inside the womb or due to some kind of trauma during delivery. However, with an early diagnosis and physical therapy, the problem can be fixed. The generally accepted conservative treatment of this condition includes passive SCM muscle stretching exercise, active range of motion (ROM) activities, positioning and handling technique for posture correction and lateral head righting strengthening exercises. In the rare cases, when physical therapy doesn’t work corrective surgery is also an option.
Torticollis In Babies
Congenital Muscular Torticollis
Congenital muscular torticollis is a condition that develops at birth or up to 2 months of age. This occurs when the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles on one side of the neck becomes tighter than the other side. In addition to the wry neck posture, you’ll also notice a lump in the affected muscle. The lump is mostly noticeable at the age of two to four weeks. The lump usually disappears within the first five to eight months. The first option to treat this condition is physical therapy. Physical therapy involves stretching to correct the tightness, strengthening exercises to achieve muscular balance and handling to promote symmetry. If the stretching exercises fail, then surgical release of the muscle is required. Infants with torticollis may also suffer from associated problems such as hip dysplasia, club foot, metatarsus adductus and brachial plexus injury.
Acquired Torticollis
Acquired torticollis can develop over time in previously normal infants and adults. It has a multiplicity of causes. The following list describes the causes of acquired torticollis:
  • Acquired torticollis following a history of trauma with or without bony lesion: Acute trauma resulting in fracture to the head, neck, clavical or scapula can result in acquired torticollis. Soft tissue injury of SCM muscles or acute rupture of muscles can also cause torticollis.
  • Acquired torticollis, non traumatic resulting in bone deformity: Rotary subluxation is often seen in inflammatory conditions. This condition may require active treatment like bracing, traction or even spinal fusion.
  • Acquired torticollis, non traumatic without fixed bone deformity: This condition may be caused by ocular lesions, sandifer syndrome or neurological syndromes. Neurological syndromes resulting in acquired torticollis includes arnold-chiari malformation, dystonic syndromes, postencephalitis syndrome, herniated cervical disk and posterior fossa pathology. Neurological exams are conducted to diagnose the patient.
  • Acquired painful torticollis: It can result from osteoid osteoma or osteoblastoma. Bone scan may be of help in diagnosis.

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