Torticollis & Plagiocephaly

What are they?

Congenital Muscular Torticollis (CMT) is the third most frequently occurring musculoskeletal condition in infants, with a reported incidence of 0.4% to 1.9%.  Torticollis literally means “twisted neck.”  CMT is usually present at birth or develops soon after.  A child with torticollis typically laterally tilts their head to one side and rotates their head to the opposite side.  You might notice that a child with torticollis always seems to be looking in the same direction.  They might even cry or resist when you try to turn their head to the other side.

The cause of CMT is unknown; however some believe that it is related to the baby’s position in the uterus prior to birth.  Torticollis is more common in children who are part of multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.).  If the torticollis has been present for some time, the child may even develop changes in the head shape, such as flattening of the skull on one side.  This is known as positional plagiocephaly.  Over 80% on infants who present with CMT also demonstrate plagiocephaly and cranial asymmetries (Cheng 2001).

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