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PT Corner: Torticollis: Addressing the Full Body to Treat the Neck

By: Dr. Joni Redlich, DPT, PCS

The child in utero is curled up tight to fit in such a tight space.  If a baby’s neck is tilted, it is visually obvious to the parent and pediatrician.  If they have asymmetry elsewhere the observations may be more subtle.  It may be harder to put one arm in the onesie, the child may prefer to play with toys on one side, or the child may crawl with one leg dragging behind.  Rather than treat the obvious asymmetry, which is the teeny tiny neck in an infant, it can be more effective to identify and treat larger asymmetries in the body, allowing the neck the opportunity to come into alignment on its own.  Common asymmetries seen are the upper body preferring to twist to the left, the baby in sitting shifted onto the right butt cheek, and the right arm having difficulty going into the shirt sleeve.

Below is a great visual representation of this using a doll and some tape:

By: Dr. Joni Redlich, DPT, PCS

Dr. Redlich is a Mom, Wife and Pediatric Physical Therapist Specializing in Children with Developmental Disabilities. She received a B.A in Psychology from Emory University and her M.S in Physical Therapy and DPT from Arcadia University (formerly Beaver College). Joni received her board certification as a Pediatric Clinical Specialist in 2011

Please visit her website at Kid PT

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