How to Care for Your Child with Torticollis

This leaflet will provide you with information about torticollis causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and home care advice.

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What is Torticollis?

Torticollis refers to the lateral twisting of the neck that causes the head to tilt to one side with the chin turned to the opposite side

Torticollis can be "congenital", Which means the child is born with the condition
or "acquired" this means the condition occurred after a child's birth, typically due to spasm in or inflammation of neck muscles

Torticollis can also be caused by another medical condition, such as a muscle strain from a fall, throat infection or cold, sleeping in an uncomfortable position. Bad reaction to the medicine, or a problem with the spine that makes the neck twist.

What are the symptoms of Torticollis?

The symptoms can include:

  • Limited range of motion in the head and neck
  • Head tilted to one side, and chin pointed to the opposite side.
  • Lump on the side of the neck that the head tilts toward. For example, if a baby's head tilts to the right, the lump is on the right side of the neck.
  • A face that looks uneven, with one side that does not match the other

How is Torticollis diagnosed?

The doctor will ask few questions about your child's health and examine your child. Your doctor will decide if further investigation or blood tests are required. Tests and investigation usually not needed.

How is Torticollis treated?

Treatment of acquired Torticollis depends on the cause, and this can include

  • Medicine for pain
  • A collar can be used to support the neck

Congenital Torticollis sometimes goes away without treatment; when treatment is required, this usually includes:

  • Stretching exercise to the neck, you will be advised how to do so
  • Physiotherapy.

Home care advice

  • Let your child rest.
  • Have your child avoid movements that strain the neck, like lifting heavy objects or turning the head quickly.
  • Apply a warm cloth or heating pad wrapped in a towel to the painful side of the neck for 20 minutes every 3–4 hours until the pain is better.
  • Never put heat packs directly on the skin.
  • If your doctor advises giving medicine for pain, you can give:
    • Paracetamol (any brand) or Ibuprofen (any brand)
    • Follow the instruction on the medicine package for the correct dose for your child
    • Do not give Aspirin to your child as this can

When should I seek medical advice?

Seek medical advice if your child:

  • Has a fever
  • Has a headache
  • Can't drink liquid normally
  • Begin drooling
  • Fall or injure the neck