Congenital Torticollis (Part 1): All about your child’s head tilt

What is Congenital Torticollis?

Pediatric Chiropractor St Charles, ILCongenital Torticollis is a condition babies are born with, in which one of their Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles becomes shortened, injured and inflamed or has scar tissue build up and results in a same sided head tilt in the baby. Usually, the child will be able to turn their head away from the shortened muscle but will not be able to tilt their head away from the shortened muscle. For example, a child with a right sided torticollis (shortened SCM on the right) will be able to turn their head to the left but will not be able to tilt the head on the left because it is stuck in a right sided tilt. (I will use this same example throughout the article for easy understanding). This condition is also commonly called “wry neck” or “twisted neck.”

What Causes Congenital Torticollis?

There are quite a few possible causes of congenital torticollis:

  1. Baby was in breech position at birth
  2. Forceps or suction assisted delivery
  3. A more important overlying condition (torticollis just becomes a symptom of something bigger)
  4. Crowding in the uterus

Are there any long term effects of torticollis?

Chiropractor St Charles, IL


The most common associated condition I have seen is plagiocephaly, or a flat spot on the skull. This occurs because baby is always sleeping on the same side of the head (right side in this case) and since their cranial bones are not yet fused, they are easily moved around. This creates the flattened spot on the right. Luckily, like I said, they move easily so this can be corrected with cranio-sacral therapy. The process is easier if the child is under 12-18 months, which is when the cranial bones begin to fuse together.

Another possible condition associated with torticollis is some type of vision disturbance. When children are developing they are learning to use both eyes together and a change in symmetry will affect the synchronized movements of the eyes.

Stay tuned to learn what can be done about your child’s head tilt in Part 2 of this post! Feel free to ask me any questions. Check out the video below for a little more about congenital torticollis! Looking for a pediatric chiropractor near you? Check out the ICPA’s directory.

Dr. Neha Shah
St. Charles, IL Pediatric Chiropractor
White Oak Family Wellness
405 Illinois Avenue #2b
St. Charles, IL 60174
(630) 442-0057
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About whiteoakwell

White Oak Family Wellness is a whole health clinic located in St. Charles, IL. Services include chiropractic, acupuncture and nutrition. Additionally, each doctor has specialized training in different fields: Dr. Neha Shah specializes in pediatric care, maternal and prenatal wellness and neurodevelopmental disorders of children. Dr. Phillip Gamble specializes in rehab, corrective exercises as well as golf fitness.
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11 Responses to Congenital Torticollis (Part 1): All about your child’s head tilt

  1. Great information about this condition. More parents need to know and how chiropractic can help. I look forward to your next article on congenital torticollis.

  2. great post, i hate reading and love the video, next time try to get some door and even door handle shots in there, ive heard great things about your clinic…that people come for the chiro and stay for the decor…great work we will be sharing this asap on our website. thanks

  3. wonderful information!

  4. Great post! It’s important for parents to know that Chiropractic is great for children as well!

  5. Such an important post! Many parents have no idea that therapy can help with this. Thanks so much for highlighting this!

  6. Dinesh Anmolsingh says:

    Great Article! Torticollis is more common than we think. Thanks Dr. Gamble for the info!

  7. Paul Agyemang says:

    Thanks for the great post! This is a condition I feel does not get enough attention. More people need to know how chiropractic can help this condition.

  8. wow great info! can’t wait to read part 2

  9. Great article on something that a lot of people know little about. Thanks for sharing

  10. A must read for all parents. Thanks for sharing

  11. Pingback: Congenital Torticollis (Part 2): What you can do about your child’s head tilt | White Oak Family Wellness

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