Torticollis or widely known in the community as a stiff neck (torticollis, loxia, wryneck) comes from the Greek: tortus meaning Collum meaning distorted and neck. Statistics show 1 in 300 babies is born with congenital muscular torticollis. The disorder is more common in children first.



It is unfortunate when the babies have torticollis and live with it without getting treatment. In addition to risk of impaired growth and development, torticollis also very likely to affect the child psychologically. The good news is about 90% of babies with torticollis when treated as early as possible will give satisfactory results. It is therefore important for us to recognize what it is torticollis. On this occasion we will limit the discussion about congenital torticollis in infants only.

Babies with torticollis alleged recognizable symptoms, namely: head tilted to one side and rotates as a way (tilt and twist) so that the chin and face leads to the opposite side. Symptoms begin to be recognizable as a baby aged 2-4 weeks.

Tight and shortened muscles will make the baby more comfortable to lie on the affected side. This condition causes the baby’s back and head were flattened on one side (plagiocephaly). In the long term risk causing stunted growth of facial muscles and bones of the head. The face becomes asymmetric permanently. These conditions are at risk of making socially inferior in the future.

It should be noted that 20% of infants exposed to congenital torticollis also at risk to have other disorders such as disorders of the spine (C1-C2 subluxation), hip joint disorder (Congenital Hip Dysplasia) *, and abnormalities of the foot (club foot and toeing in) *

If you suspect your child having Torticollis, What should you do?

  • Immediately taken to the doctor. Your child will be ascertained whether or not the torticollis and other accompanying disorders. In addition to a physical examination, your doctor may suggest an X-ray and ultrasound examination.
  • Physiotherapy routine as early as possible. Congenital torticollis caused purely by muscle must do physiotherapy. Ideally when the baby is younger than 3 months. Therapy usually takes for 4-6 months and nearly 90% successful. Older infants require longer and more difficult process. Therapy in infants in the first year has been delayed and may require surgery.
  • Put toys on the side where the baby had to twist his head to divert attention to the toy or grabbing toys
  • Put the baby on the bed wherein the sick side facing the wall, so that the baby had turned his head to look outwards mattress.

WARNING: Once again, the early treatment of Torticollis’s patients will determine the healing of the patient. Know before its too late!

NOTE: If you notice that your child holds the head tilted to one side, consult Dr Kevin Yip who has more than 20 years of experience in Orthopaedic by calling us at (65) 6476 2106 for an appointment today. Other conditions can cause torticollis, and the physician will check for those during the physical examination. Be assured that you will be receiving professional treatments that suit your needs.  

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