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Torticollis: What is it and how can you prevent it in your infant?

What is torticollis?

Torticollis is a shortening of muscles, specifically the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle, on one side of an infant’s neck. Torticollis is very common in infants and can be treated or prevented. Torticollis can also accompany plagiocepahly or a flat spot on the head. The tight muscles of the neck can promote lying on one side of the head which can change head shape. Plagiocephaly can occur in infants due to the soft spots on their skull and their skull bones not being fused yet.

What are the signs of torticollis?

The most common sign of torticollis is a rotation of the neck to one side and a head tilt. The tightness of the neck muscles will result in a strong preference for the infant to position their head to one side. It will be difficult for the child to look in the opposite direction. They will struggle to rotate their head to one side and will not be able to maintain their head position in that direction.

What is the cause of Torticollis?

Torticollis can happen for a variety of reasons. Some infants are born with torticollis due to their positioning in utero. This happens often in larger babies and multiples. Torticollis can also develop in the months after birth and can be prevented.


  • Switch which arms are holding or feeding your baby (when bottle fed)
    • Although one way may be more comfortable for you, it is important to switch which side you are holding your baby on. Switching the side you are holding them on can decrease the risk for tightness in their neck and encourage them to look and turn their head in both directions.
  • Alternate which way you lay your baby in their crib daily
    • This encourages your baby to look to the opposite side when looking out of the crib for you or other motivating objects to look at.
  • Limit your baby’s time in containers such as swings, bouncers or car seats
    • Although practical for day to day with an infant, containers can encourage a baby to have one sided preference. Minimize the time a baby is sleeping in a car seat and awake in bouncers or swings.
  • Increase the time your baby is on their tummy
    • Tummy time is extremely important for developing neck and core strength in infants.  When in tummy time encourage your infant to look to both directions by talking to them or encouraging them to track to both sides. If your infant does not enjoy tummy time, do short bursts of tummy time frequently throughout the day. Work up to having your baby on their stomach for 2 hours total daily.

Treatment for Torticollis

Torticollis is commonly treated by a pediatric physical therapist. This would begin with an evaluation by the therapist to identify the child’s needs. When caught early, (2-4 months of age) Torticollis can be treated in a short time period. Treatment of torticollis includes: stretching, soft tissue massage, neck strengthening exercises, positioning techniques, ROM exercises and tummy time modifications. If you have concerns for torticollis in your infant, contact LLA Therapy for an evaluation by a physical therapist.

-Alexa Bachmann, Physical Therapist

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Patient Reviews

LLA Therapy

Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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