Plagiocephaly and Torticollis
Plagiocephaly can be congenital or positional and refers to flattening across one side of the back of
the skull. Plagiocephaly is extremely common and affects approximately 50% of infants. If left untreated, infants with plagiocephaly have a 90% likelihood of developing torticollis.
Torticollis is an acquired or congenital condition where a baby’s head and neck tilt to one side. This is an involuntary contraction of the neck muscle (sternocleidomastoid) on one side. A baby with torticollis may demonstrate a head tilt to one side, only rotate their neck in one direction, and/or prefer to nurse on only one breast. You may notice facial asymmetry, a small lump in the neck, or flatness across the back of the head (plagiocephaly).
Occupational Therapy works with infants with plagiocephaly to take objective measurements of the skull to determine whether an orthotic evaluation would be recommended for a cranial orthosis. OT will provide repositioning strategies, neck stretches and strengthening exercises, and simple home modification techniques to improve rounding of the skull as well as neck range of motion and strength.