Published on May 13, 2019

Torticollis – Therapy Services at Pella Regional Can Help

PELLA, Iowa Torticollis is a condition where the neck muscles cause the head to turn or rotate to the side. When babies are born with this condition, it’s called congenital muscular torticollis. It may have been caused by the position of the baby’s head while growing inside the womb, or muscle tightness or injury. Babies can also develop torticollis after birth. Pella Regional’s Physical Therapy team provides manual therapy and exercises to help relax the tight muscles and strengthen the baby’s neck.

Soon after birth, parents may notice their baby prefers to keep his or her head turned one direction, or rests with the head tilted to one side. In other cases, parents may not notice anything alarming initially, but may find that as their baby gains more head control, he or she may struggle to look to one side. Parents or caregivers may also notice the baby’s eyes do not follow them because that would require the infant to turn their head. They may also have trouble breastfeeding on one side or develop a flat head from lying in one position.

The Physical Therapy team at Pella Regional’s locations in Pella, Knoxville and Ottumwa can help babies with torticollis by exercising the muscles in the baby’s neck in therapy sessions, as well as teach parents and caregivers exercises and maneuvers that they can do at home.

“We teach parents how to change things in the infant’s normal environment to encourage them to move their head out of the favored position and move towards full head and neck movement,” said Amy Herdegen, physical therapist at Pella Regional. “We also teach parents exercises and activities to do at home to stretch the tight muscles in the infant’s neck to improve range of motion.”

Parents and caregivers should speak with their doctor about a referral to physical therapy if they notice signs of torticollis.