Treating Torticollis–Looking Beyond the Neck for Better Results

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Treating Torticollis–Looking Beyond the Neck for Better Results

By Jamie Kloss, DPT
ApexNetwork Physical Therapy

Torticollis is a common pediatric musculoskeletal condition characterized by altered head posture at or shortly after birth.  This condition often involves the sternocleidomastoid muscle but can also be due to other non-muscular cases.

In general, there are three categories of torticollis.  These include: 1) STM = a mass/tumor in the SCM muscle belly that often appears within the first few weeks after birth and gradually disappears.  This may be due to ischemia and subsequent perfusion after birth trauma or from intrauterine position.  2) MT = a muscle contracture of the SCM without tumor.  3) POST = positional torticollis when both contracture of the SCM and tumor are absent.

Evaluating and treating these patient’s can be difficult but with proper treatment, this condition can be corrected and prevent future issues.  Treatment of these patient’s includes addressing any impairment noted when assessing the patient as a whole including asymmetries, cervical rotation or side bending, and any strength deficit.