ZocdocAnswersIs torticollis painful?

Question

Is torticollis painful?

My daughter was born with torticollis and I am worried that she is in pain. What should I do? She is 6 months old.

Answer

I am sorry to hear that your daughter is dealing with this problem. It sounds like she has congenital torticollis, which is a common form of torticollis. Torticollis of course refers to a condition in which the muscles on the side of the neck or stiff or shortened, resulting in tilting or turning of the head to one side. The exact cause of congenital torticollis is unknown, although it probably results from some injury to these muscles in the womb, resulting in some scarring of the muscle. Since congenital torticollis is an "old" problem that occurred before the child was born, it is not usually particularly painful. This is different from some types of torticollis acquired after birth, which may be the result of an infection or new inflammation and therefore might be more painful. You should follow up very closely with your daughter's pediatrician. The good news about congenital torticollis is that most cases of it resolve over a few month with some simple exercises as well as with strategies to encourage your child to turn her head spontaneously. If the torticollis does not resolve, then you may need to have an appointment with a surgeon to see if surgery is necessary.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.