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Torticollis (Left side)

 
Torticollis

Torticollis is when the neck muscles are tighter on one side than the other. The head turns to one (1) side in people with this condition.

If you do not help your baby’s neck become straight, they might have:

  • A strange head shape,
  • Problems eating, and
  • A face that looks different on one (1) side than the other.

You can help make your baby’s neck straight. The information below describes some stretches and other things you can do to loosen the tight neck muscles. These activities can help the head go back to a normal position.

Torticollis

Stretches

Side bending

  1. Lay your baby on their back.
  2. Put the palm of your left hand on the back of your baby’s head.
  3. Put your right hand on your baby’s left shoulder.
  4. Gently bend your baby’s right ear toward the right shoulder. Press down gently on your baby’s left shoulder at the same time.
  5. Stop when you feel tightness. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. Do this stretch three more times during the day.
Torticollis

Rotating

  1. Lay your baby on their back.
  2. Put your right hand on the baby’s right shoulder. Use your left hand to turn your baby’s head gently to the left.
  3. Stop when you feel tightness. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Do this stretch 3 more times during the day.
Torticollis

Positions

Positioning with activity

  1. Lay your baby on their back.
  2. Put a colorful toy to the left of your baby’s head. Or sit or lie in that area.
  3. Put your baby in this position often during the day.
Torticollis

Tummy time

  1. Put your baby on their tummy.
  2. Put toys to your baby’s left. Or sit or lie in that area. This helps your baby look to the left.
  3. Do this often during the day.
Torticollis

Carrying your baby

Your main carrying position

  1. Carry your baby with their back against the front of your body.
  2. Support the baby’s head with your left arm. Use your right arm to support the baby’s lower body.
  3. Use this position any time you carry the baby.
Torticollis

Cheek-to-cheek hold

  1. Hold your baby upright against your body.
  2. Gently push your left cheek against the baby’s right cheek. This helps your baby turn to the left. Hold up a mirror for your baby to look in. This can distract the baby so they stay in this position.
  3. Hold your baby this way often during the day.
Torticollis

Feeding positions

Do this whether you are breastfeeding or giving a bottle. Hold your baby so they look to the left. If your baby has a hard time eating in this position, let them in the usual position.

Other things to do

Use the stretches and positions on this handout every day for the best results. Also, try to get your baby to look to the left and tilt their head to the right as much as possible.

Your baby might act a little irritated when you do stretches. But the stretches should not hurt your baby. If you think your baby is in pain, stop the stretch or position. Try again later.

Questions?

Please ask your physical therapist if you have questions or concerns, or call Rehabilitation Services at 901-595-3621.


 

This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

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