Hi everyone! I have compiled a list of the BEST research out there currently to treat torticollis. As always, please contact your pediatrician with any questions and concerns, as this is for educational purposes.
Stretching: there has been research on duration and frequency of stretching, and studies found significant differences in range of motion with these formal parameters. I know what you’re thinking- “100 minutes of stretching EVERY DAY?” Give yourself grace, mama, and know that you are stretching your child even when it doesn’t seem like it. Put them in the baby carrier with their head turned to the non preferred side or place their head to that side while they’re sleeping. This counts as stretching! Rest easy and stretch as much as you and your baby can tolerate, I’m just here to present the research!
Active range of motion: I will demonstrate some ways to encourage active rotation to the non-preferred side in my stories on my instagram. You can do this with toys, people, mirrors, and screens!
Symmetry: We love symmetry in babies. It is atypical for your child to show a preference before age 3. Asymmetry may be a result of torticollis, but if you are working with PT, they will provide tactics and tricks to have your child gain gross motor skills on each side to prevent this asymmetry!
Environmental Adaptations: we want to place EVERYTHING that your child loves on that non-preferred side. Research shows that this is a great way to get your child to actively look towards the non-preferred side.
Caregiver Education: our job as PTs is to educate on tummy time, positioning, avoiding plagiocephaly (ps. Floor is best!), and alternating feedings.
Soft tissue mobilization aka MASSAGE! Not as strong evidence here but there are some studies that look at STM and it’s effects making changes on range of motion and the size of the mass. If your child isn’t tolerating stretching or activities at a given time, try some soft tissue massage!
Kaplan SL, Coulter C, Sargent B. Physical Therapy Management of Congenital Muscular Torticollis: A 2018 Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline From the APTA Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy. Pediatr Phys Ther. 2018 Oct;30(4):240-290. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000544. PMID: 30277962