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Torticollis and Plagiocephaly

Torticollis and Plagiocephaly 2019-01-14T17:37:46+00:00

Torticollis is a twist or tilt (or both) in a child’s neck. It can be caused by damage or shortening of the Sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM muscle) in a baby’s neck, either in utero or because of positioning/posture after birth. There are two main types of Torticollis; Congenital Muscular Torticollis (CMT) and Positional Torticollis.

Positional Plagiocephaly, or Flat Head Syndrome, is a condition in which one side of a baby’s head is flattened. This may occur on its own or often concurrently with torticollis. Usually the cause for either torticollis or plagiocephaly, or the reason that the conditions may not be resolving, is a result of prolonged or repeated sleeping in the same position, as well as the frequent use of car seats, swings, and strollers.


  • Baby’s head is tilted to one side
  • Baby can only rotate head in one direction – tends to sleep in same position
  • Tightness or stiffness in neck muscles on one side
  • Delayed gross motor development such as rolling or reaching with both hands
  • Changes in head shape – may be flattened spots or facial asymmetries
  • Not tolerating tummy time

Physiotherapy Treatment for Torticollis and Plagiocephaly at Butterfly:

Physiotherapists at Butterfly will perform a comprehensive assessment on your child. This will involve observation of head and neck alignment, whole body positioning, head control, neck range of motion and your child’s ability to complete gross motor skills such as being on their tummy rolling, reaching, lifting head against gravity and integration of primitive reflexes. Our skilled therapists can educate (depending on age, skill level and presentation) with regards to ideas for ideal positions and those to avoid, and exercises for stretching, strengthening, and gross motor progression. While some ideas are provided for home, therapists will also work on neck strengthening in good alignment, proper muscle recruitment and exercises to support proper gross motor development.

Why Butterfly?

We understand that knowing your child may present with torticollis or plagiocephaly can be distressing to you as a parent. Butterfly Physiotherapists are trained in infant conditions and can provide you with the support and education you need to answer any questions you may have, allow you to take an active role in recovery, and be confident that your child is in good hands. We look at the child and family as a whole, and combine education and treatment about the specific neck or head issue with important early intervention to ensure gross motor milestones are not being compromised.

Early intervention is important, so don’t wait!

To book an assessment or for more information on Torticollis and Plagiocephaly please email or call us at (905) 206 0300.