Torticollis (Wry Neck)

Torticollis, also known as Wry Neck occurs when your baby's head is tilted - it's where the chin points to one shoulder, while the head tilts towards the opposite shoulder. 

Causes

Congenital Torticollis occurs usually when the neck muscle at the back of your baby's neck (Sternocleidomastoid Muscle) gets shortened. 

After birth, this condition might appear due to scar tissues and tightness of the muscle only on one side of the neck. Also, may occure later in childhood. Another factor might be caused by a bone problem in the neck portion of the spine (cervical spine). This is known as a congenital malformation of the cervical spine. 

Treatment

Treatment includes stretching the baby's tight neck muscle where a skilled physiotherapist will teach proper exercises safely. Alternatively, you could naturally stretch your baby's neck so he or she can roatet the chin toward the shoulder of the affected side, for instance: 

Hold your child carefully during feeding, gently rotate his or her chil to the accurate position.

For your child to see the room easily, ensure the crib is placed in a way that your child turns his or her head the correct way.

Put toys and other objects around so that it's easily reachable for your child. Also, for his or her head to turn to see and play with them.

If there are little to no improvement shown after a few months of performing stretching exercises, then your doctor might recommend surgery to elongate the neck muscle. 

Complications and related diseases

Complications may include:

Asymmetry of the head 

Contracture (shortening) of the neck muscle

Flat head

Symptoms
Your baby will show difficulty in turning the head to the opposite side. There may also be signs that indicate his or her head will have mobility issues as compared to other babies. Lumps can show in your baby's neck muscle. Also, prolonged head position can lead to the flatenning of head and face. The neck muscle (Sternocleidomastoid) might be tight. 

Our Specialists

Dr. Sreetharan Sivapatha Sundaram
Specialty
Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery (ENT)
Head & Neck Surgery
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu
Dr. G. T. Rajendran
Specialty
Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery (ENT)
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu
Dr. Lum Chee Lun
Specialty
Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery (ENT)
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu

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