Torticollis and Your Newborn

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What is torticollis?

Torticollis, also known as congenital muscular torticollis, is a relatively common condition in newborns or infants up to the age of 3-6 months. Generally, babies with torticollis appear to have a tilted head and tight neck muscles.

How does it happen?

While there are many reasons a baby can develop torticollis, usually it occurs due to positioning in the womb, difficult childbirth, heavy birthweight, breech positioning, breast feeding, and the use of forceps during birth.  All of these factors put a lot of tension in the baby’s neck muscles, primarily the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle, which causes it to get shorter and make it hard for the baby to turn its neck.

What does torticollis look like?

Babies with torticollis usually do not have a lot of pain and act like most other babies their age. Often, their heads will be tilted in one direction, they prefer looking and turning their head to one direction, are breast fed on the same side and could have a flat head. Sometimes, babies with a tight SCM muscle could develop a small bump on the muscle.

What is the treatment?

Once a diagnosis of torticollis is made, it can usually be treated with neck muscle stretches, positioning  and strengthening exercises prescribed by a physical therapist. These exercises will help to reposition the baby’s head and relax the tight muscles.

Do you, or does someone you know, have a newborn baby with an asymmetrical head shape? If yes, please feel free to call Cappino at 514.684.9073 or book an appointment online with Meghan to discuss how you can help your baby!


Meet Meghan…one of Cappino’s expert physiotherapists


MEGHAN STRAUB B.Sc., M. A PhT – is a graduate of McGill University with a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy and member of  l’ordre professionnel de la physiothérapie du Quebec (OPPQ), Meghan has taken her background as an avid athlete and combined it with her caring-personality to help individuals achieve their maximum potential. She has completed several stages with high-distinction in the fields of orthopedics, neurology and pediatrics and has worked with the McGill Women’s Rugby team for the past three years. In addition, Meghan has taken courses on the treatment of orthopedic conditions, cancer rehabilitation and advanced pediatric physical therapy and plans to continue her post-graduate education with courses in manual therapy and pediatrics. Book an appointment with Meghan.


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Cappino Physiotherapy and Wellness Center offers innovative, hands-on treatment techniques to heal injuries faster and to improve quality of life.

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