Congenital Muscular Torticollis and Torticollis

Congenital muscular torticollis, also called twisted neck, is a condition in which an infant is born holding their head tilted to one side. Torticollis is typically noticed when an infant is 6 to 8 weeks old and is more common in firstborn children.


  • An injury to the neck muscle from positioning in utero

  • Bone malformations in the neck


Common signs and symptoms related to congenital muscular torticollis are:

  • Head tilts and the chin points to the opposite shoulder

  • Hearing or vision problems

  • Decreased motion of the neck and difficulty turning the head to the opposite side

  • One side of the head may be more flat

  • Soft bump or mass over the tight muscle (usually disappears around 4 to 6 months of age)

Note: As the mass resolves, a scar will appear on the affected neck muscle. This scar will determine how tight or how much torticollis the child will have later on.


To determine if your child has congenital muscular torticollis, your specialized doctor may take an X-ray.

If your child has congenital muscular torticollis, there may be other conditions that need to be evaluated, such as hip dysplasia.


Possible treatments our doctors may offer or recommend to treat your child’s congenital muscular torticollis include:

  • Stretching and range of motion exercises

  • Surgery to lengthen the short muscle (rarely needed)

At-Home Care

  • Gently touch child’s chin to each shoulder and ear to each shoulder

  • Position toys or bottle so the child must turn head and use the affected side

  • Position crib or bed against the wall, so the child will have to use the affected side to look out

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