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Torticollis is a state of involuntary contraction of the ECOM (Sternocleidomastoid) and the Scalenes, which causes the maintenance of a position of inclination of the child's head to one side and a cervical rotation to the opposite side.
Although it seems strange to you, not only adults suffer from torticollis, they can also occur cases of torticollis in babies. Learn which types of torticollis are most common, what causes it, and how it can be prevented.
Torticollis in babies can be of two types: congenital or acquired.
1 - We consider it to be congenital torticollis when it is already present at the time of birth or occurs during the baby's first days or weeks.
Sometimes we can notice an induration in the musculature, which is nothing more than the hematoma that occurs in part of the muscle if an excessive stretch has happened.
Normally congenital torticollis is more frequent in multiple pregnancies, (since there is less space in the uterus for babies to move comfortably), in difficult deliveries with long deliveries where instruments must be used to help lift the baby's head, when cord loops occur or when the mother already has scoliosis.
The baby must be understood "as if it were a passenger who adapts to his passage"; in this case his mother. If she already has a torsion pattern in her spine and sacrum due to scoliosis, the baby's body (especially her head), which is the most moldable area and is most subject to pressure, can absorb these stresses.
2. Acquired torticollis appears after birth. Almost always due to abuse of the prone position. It is often associated with plagiocephaly. It can also arise after trauma, otitis, tonsillitis ...
We must suspect that your baby suffers from torticollis if when he lies down, sucks or sleeps, we observe that he always has preference to keep the head turned to the same side. If it is difficult for him to turn his neck to the opposite side, if he keeps the shoulder on the affected side elevated and if we see that his pelvis leans towards the same side to which his head is tilted, acquiring a “banana” position.
The baby's body adapts to the tension in its neck, shortening the muscle chains on the side of the head tilt and stretching those on the opposite side.
We are not facing a serious dysfunction. Torticollis have a good prognosis, and more if they are treated promptly, but it is very important to perform a physiotherapy and / or osteopathic treatment as early as possible, to avoid the chronicity of the baby's compensations.
If not treated early, they can lead to:
- Facial and cranial asymmetries.
- Deformities of the spine.
- Visual problems.
- Slower motor development, worse hand-eye coordination, less use of the hand on the side that has difficulty turning.
You can read more articles similar to Causes and types of torticollis in babies, in the category of Childhood Diseases on site.