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Congenital torticollis means that a baby is born with an odd position of the neck. The odd position is because of a tight, short neck muscle. It affects the right side more often than the left side. It may range from mild to severe. The condition is sometimes called wryneck.
Doctors don't know what causes the condition. It may be from the baby’s position in the womb. Or it may be from an injury to the neck muscle before birth.
Congenital muscular torticollis may be seen at birth. Or you may not notice it until your baby is at least a few weeks old. Each child may have slightly different symptoms. Symptoms may include:
In severe muscular torticollis, a baby may also have:
The symptoms of congenital muscular torticollis may look like other conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your baby’s healthcare provider will usually find the abnormality when examining your baby. Your child may need these tests for diagnosis:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment may include:
If the problem is not fixed, the baby will be unable to move his or her head normally. It will lead to permanent muscle tightening. It will cause the neck and face to develop unevenly.
You can help your baby loosen and stretch the muscle by:
Talk with your baby’s healthcare provider about seeing a physical therapist. He or she can help you with exercises and positioning. And your baby may also receive therapy.
Your baby’s healthcare provider will recheck your baby regularly to make sure the torticollis is getting better.
Call your baby’s healthcare provider if you notice symptoms of muscular torticollis. And if your baby has the condition, call the healthcare provider if it is not getting better.
Congenital muscular torticollis is a condition in which a baby’s neck muscle is tight and short. This causes the neck to twist.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.