Torticollis is the term given to an infant or toddler whose neck is twisted causing the head to tilt to one side. The condition can be congenital or acquired. Congenital torticollis is caused from the position of the fetus in the womb. It’s usually not serious and will correct itself within a few weeks after birth.
Acquired torticollis, however, can be caused by several things. The twisted neck may develop from an injury to the neck muscles or can be a result of muscle spasms in the neck. An infection such as a cold or upper respiratory infection may also cause a child to have temporary torticollis. The lymph nodes in the neck become inflamed causing the condition to develop. Torticollis can also be a symptom of a more serious condition that affects the brain or spinal cord. Lastly, there are cases on record of inherited torticollis.
Treatment for torticollis can vary. If the cause is an infection, the infection will be treated and the torticollis will subside. If the torticollis is caused form an injury or even from sleeping in the wrong position, a doctor will usually order X-rays and could recommend physical therapy. Children who have problems with the muscles in the neck will sometimes be given injections that relieve muscle spasms.
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