Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Torticollis PT

Today was Sam's second visit from the Infants and Toddlers Program physical therapist.  He has already shown improvement!  Huzzah!  In case you are unsure what Torticollis is or how to recognize it:

Sam's case, again, is minor.  But here you can clearly see that he holds his head at an angle.  This is caused by the muscles on the left side of his neck being overly tight.  To correct this we do little play time activities and stretches.

Such as putting him belly down on his boppy with an assortment of toys in front of him, his favorites on his right side.  This encourages him to use his right side and helps stretch those neck muscles by forcing him to hold that massive brain case up.

And holding his left shoulder to the ground while encouraging him to look off to the right to play with toys.  This stops him from turning his body to play, thereby stretching those neck muscles in another way.

I also hug him and hold his head against my left shoulder while he is looking out to his right.  Again, doing a long stretch of those tight muscles.  More stretches include actually doing some gentle moving of his head from one shoulder to the other in various positions.  None of these hurt him and he doesn't seem to mind any of them except the tummy time on the boppy (only cause he doesn't like to be in a tummy position that HE doesn't get himself into, stinker).

By far the most interesting thing we do for his PT is the "self righting reflex".  Your natural desire is to see the world from a position parallel to the ground.  Meaning you want to see things right side up and level.  With Torticollis you see things at an angle, but don't want to.  By having Sam upright as often as possible he naturally tries to tilt his head so his chin is parallel to the ground.  Giving himself a workout! 
At eye level, making the world almost level.

 To encourage this even more I occasionally tilt him just an inch to the left to cause this self righting reflex to stretch out those muscles just a tad more.  That is fascinating.  To me at least.

At eye level, over compensating to make the world level!

Sam's PT was very pleased today to see that he has already made progress!  If we keep up the hard work he should be well on his way to normal in no time!


  1. Good luck! Remember what I said, keep doing the stuff even after they say it's corrected. You don't want to have the body/face muscle issues we have because of the "tiny case of torticollis" Ev was diagnosed with.

  2. Hi, when was he diagnosed and how many weeks went by before you saw improvement? I will be taking my LO for a PT evaluation on Tuesday :(

    1. The earlier you catch it and start PT the better. Sam was something like 4 months (can't remember exactly) when we started and I think he started to show improvement after about 2 or 3 weeks. But we did PT for over a year to clear out all his issues and get him developmentally caught up to where he should have been. Best of luck to you!