Torticollis means “twisted neck.” The most common cause is congenital muscular torticollis (also known as ‘wryneck’). It is typically found in the first 6–8 weeks of a newborn’s life. The parents may notice that the baby holds his/her head tilted and has difficulty turning his/her head to one side. The reason the baby holds his/her head tilted and has difficulty turning is due to a tight muscle in the neck.
A bump or mass may be felt over the tight muscle of the neck. It is soft and not tender. The mass is attached to the tight muscle on the side of the neck that the child holds his/her head tilted to. The mass decreases over the next several months, by 5 months of age the mass is almost undetectable.
If your child has been diagnosed with congenital muscular torticollis, there may be other conditions that need to be evaluated, such as dysplasia of the hip which your physician should look for. There are other common cause of torticollis such as hearing or vision problems and bone malformations in the neck. Your doctor may take an X-ray to help determine the cause in the first several months of life.