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Torticollis and Plagiocephaly

What is torticollis? What causes torticollis and What if physiotherapy doesnt


Torticollis happens when a muscle in the neck
plagiocephaly? help?
(sterno-cleido mastoid muscle) is shorter Physiotherapy is almost always all that is needed to
or weaker. This muscle is used to: Torticollis and plagiocephaly are fairly common.
There are many possible causes, like: fix torticollis and plagiocephaly. But if the problems
Bend the neck (bringing the ear toward the cant be solved with physiotherapy, your child may
shoulder) Not enough time spent on the tummy
Position in the uterus before birth need:
Turn the head toward the other shoulder A neck brace
Events during birth
Baby staying in one place or position for too long A special helmet to prevent further head changes
A baby with torticollis may: Surgery (this is quite rare)
Have a tight neck muscle on one side
Have a weak neck muscle on the opposite side Babies may have other problems that can make it
Prefer to move or look to one side easier for torticollis and plagiocephaly to happen, like:
Hip problems
What is plagiocephaly? Eye problems
This is a flattening across the back and side of a Hearing problems
babys head. This may cause: Delays with physical development
Changes to the face on the flat side of the head Bone problems
One ear to shift forward Other medical problems

Head shapes: Looking down on a babys head


Physiotherapy
After assessing your baby, our physiotherapists will teach you ways to stretch and strengthen your babys
neck muscles so your babys neck moves correctly. When started early enough, this physiotherapy works
very well to improve plagiocephaly and torticollis. We will share ways to:
Use toys to get your baby to look and turn toward the difficult side
Play with your baby
Carry your baby
Normal head shape Plagiocephaly
Give your baby tummy time
Illustration used with the permission of Stretch and strengthen neck muscles
The Royal Childrens Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
http://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/factsheets.cfm?doc_ Massage your baby

What should we do if we think


our baby has plagiocephaly or
torticollis?
Talk with your doctor right away. The earlier
treatment begins, the better.

401 Smyth Road, Ottawa K1H 8L1 613-737-7600 www.cheo.on.ca


How can we get to see a
physiotherapist?
To see a physiotherapist at CHEO, youll need a
referral from your family doctor or pediatrician.
Your doctor can mail the referral letter to:

Physiotherapy
Childrens Hospital of Eastern Ontario
401 Smyth Rd.
Ottawa, ON
K1H 8L1
Questions?
The referral can also be faxed to us at:
613-738-4893 CHEO Physiotherapy
613-737-7600 extension 2500

Your babys neck muscles


and head shape

Torticollis and
Plagiocephaly

www.cheo.on.ca
www.cheo.on.ca Form # P5560E May 2010
401 Smyth Rd., Ottawa K1H 8L1 613-737-7600