Neck muscles, prefer one side

Sonya - posted on 12/06/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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My son has always preferred to lay and look to one side. It is evident now that he is 5 months that that can be an issue. We have worked with him to distract him to the other side, and of course the side he prefers is flat. It looks better since we've started working with him, and the doctor said it was stiff muscles and we needed to work to stretch the non-used side. He said he was probably like that in the womb. Does anyone else have stories about something like this? It seems to be taking a long time to fix, and I don't want to have to use a helmet or anything.

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Sopheary - posted on 10/17/2012

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you are lucky that u can fix your neck on time. Now I have the same problem as you. My son is 4 months and 10days. His head go to only left side. pls advice me what I should do. I am so woory.

Shelley - posted on 12/12/2009

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It could be torticollis or one side of the body is stronger than the other.



Our little girl's left side is weaker than her right due to the way I carried her. I am such a worry wart and I noticed it when she was about 1mth old, she would hold her head to one side so we went to doctors and they dismissed the problem, said it was nothing and not to worry. They put it down to babies just preferring one side however even when I rotated the bassinette/used toys - she still looked to her left. I persisted with the doctors as it appeared to have gotten worse. So at 9wks we were referred to a physio. We were lucky that she didn't need a helmet as she didn't have a flat spot. I went against the SIDS campaign and put her to sleep on her tummy when she was able to lift her head and change sides easily around 2mths although she could do this in her first/second week since birth. The helmets are really expensive and I wanted to avoid this but not at risk of her suffocating so I monitored her closely. The physio told us that there are minimum requirements for flat spots and requests for helmets, the flat spot needs to be severe in order for them to proceed with one. Most flat spots grow out anyway as bub grows but again in time.



The physio we see has made a great change already in the 2mths we have been seeing her. We do a lot of stretching the stronger side, we tickle her weak side so she flexes those muscles to help develop them. We give her a lot of tummy time and encourage her to roll both ways so that it allows her to use her neck muscles. We use toys to help her look forward and also turn to strengthen the muscles again. There's also an exercise we do where we sit her on our lap and 'tilt' her to the side so she has to use the neck muscles to hold her head upright. Our physio advised us to also try and encourage her to hold her head straight as her brain might learn that the world is normal at a tilted angle. Fit balls are great too, but not after a feed. Just roll fwd and back and side to side gently. Make a peanut roll for bed/pram/carseat/change table. We carry her on our right side to help her to look to her right to use the left neck muscles. It has helped a lot and we've seen a huge improvement. It sounds like a lot of work and sometimes when she protests it can be but it's extra time we get to play together :)



I asked how long it would take now that the stronger muscle has stretched out and the physio said give it another 3 or so mths for the left side to catch up and match the right hand side's strength.



If it's torticollis, the muscle may be thicker and may have a small nodule, try gentle massage.



My mother and mother-in-law were adament that it would have corrected itself without intervention but when I asked the physio, she said that the longer you leave it, the longer it takes to correct itself.



I'm sorry if this way too much info or none of it helps but when I was looking for info regarding it, I couldn't find much online and I completely bombarded the doctors and physio with questions and concerns.



I hope it helps and good luck, I'm sure bub's muscles will come right and he will be fine and later on down the track you won't even know!

Vanessa - posted on 11/13/2013

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I have a set of twins I was told both of them tend to tilt head to the left side . I am going to see a therapist within the next week an I am worried something seirous is wrong with them or maybe I am stressing a little to much about the situation I don't know does anyone have tips on how to correct there neck ?

Toni - posted on 12/14/2009

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Hi Sonya, My first son had the same thing. He always preferred his left side and we were told to try and get him to look the other way by distracting him, also to lift his head and turn it to the right. He is now 4 years old and he has no trouble, i think if you just keep up the work you are doing with him he will be fine. Also my youngest does the same thing, he is only 21 weeks old and he, like his brother, preferrs his left side, that side of his head is flat and seems more flat than my oldest ever was. He is getting better as we also rotate him while he sleeps to the opposite side.
Just keep working

Robin - posted on 12/13/2009

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My son has the same "problem." I noticed he was always looking toward the right from birth until about 2 months. I talked to our pediatrician and she said it was a tight torticollis muscle. We have been going to physical therapy and will be done by the end of this month (so it's been about 3 months). I was concerned about his head getting flat and wanted to avoid getting a helmet. The PT was great. She stretches and massages him. She also gave me a lot of suggestions to reposition (during feeding, sleeping, playing, carrying, etc.) My PT did say that b/c it took 2 months of laying on his right (and consequently getting a flattened head) it will take about the same to correct it.
He is doing very well now. He still turns his head to the right, but it's not as bad as before. And, he turns his head to the left on his own even while sleeping--a big bonus. It will take some time, don't get frustrated...especially with the repositioning. The hardest part for my husband and I was keeping him on his left at night. Our PT said that as long as he lies on his left during the day, there's not too much you can do at night. If you have to get up or check on him, just continue to reposition. One last thought, my pediatrician also mentioned that around 6 months babies hit a growth spurt in their brains b/c they're starting to sit up, scoot, etc, and learning a lot of new things. This will cause major brain growth and will help even out your baby's head. Good luck...I know how you feel!

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Tawhida - posted on 01/25/2014

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My daughter too is 3 months and 3 weeks old and looks only towards the right and also sleeps on this side. I try to put her to sleep on the left side but after 15 mins or so she wakes up with a start and turns on her back and cries if i do not turn her to the right. AM trying to best to coax her to use the other side but she refuses flat. Will try your suggestion Mary hoping that they might be of help. Does any one know how to stretch the neck muscles on the other side ?

Sana - posted on 08/19/2013

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hi , my daughetr doing the same thing , , she prefered to look left side , i put some toys on her right side , she is 6 months now , my concern is how long it will take time to fix because i am so worried , can u tell me at what age ur son neck is doing fine .
thanks

Mary - posted on 11/26/2012

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My daughter of 3 months had / has the same issue. I noticed it early on and would try to turn her head to the right (she preferred turning to the left as well) especially when she was asleep, but after a minute she would always turn the other way. Eventually I got lazy and stopped thinking about until her 2 month check up, and I askes the Ped by chance what I could do. The best piece of advice!



She told me to place her so her left is facing the wall or whatever surface that is really dull. Then place interesting / fun things--like toys, a lamp, etc--on her right. She'd get so bored and frustrated and eventually turn to the right. It totally worked after 3-4 days. Now she voluntarily turns her head to the right, although she stills favors sleeping on her left. As an earlier poster said, it's about training / stretching the muscles. Forcing her or manually adjusting her head did / doesnot work; it just made her upset.



Might take longer to train the muscles of an older baby, but worth trying.

Natalie - posted on 12/13/2009

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Hi,

My son is 4 and half months now.

At about 3 months i visited a midwife and she commented on his head shape and He only looked one way and the hair on that side of his head had thinnned out alot. I knew this but didnt realise it was a problem.

I found that it was because of the way i held him and the way i put him to play on the floor was always the same (he turned towards the tv).

So now i have turned him around to look the other way and try to carry him and position him differently to encourage him not to look the same way all the time.

He has improved so much. Im very happy that i visited the midwife that day,or i would never have known any different.

Priscilla - posted on 12/13/2009

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My son has a minor case of torticollis. We went to physical therapy and received many suggestions. The explanation we recieved was that the muscles on the right side of his neck were longer than the muscles on the left side, therefore causing him to tilt his head to the left. Our doctor said that Peter Jennings had torticollis, and that someone can carry it into adult-hood. In extreme cases, surgery can be done to correct it, but usually stretching it can help. The therapist gave us a few stretches. He also suggested propping our son up when he sleeps to help gravity pull his head to the right (to stretch the left muscles out). We had trouble with that, because he would just move off of the padding each night. It was also suggested to keep any stimulation, such as people talking, or the tv, to the side that the do not tilt to. That way, he would want to turn his head the opposite way and stretch that side out. While bottle feeding, you should try to feed your daughter on the opposite side that she usually looks to help stretch that side.

Best of luck to you.

Blythe - posted on 12/10/2009

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We're having the same issue with our little girl. She has preferred to be on one side since birth and a couple of weeks ago we noticed she was leaning to one side. The pediatrician recommended that we place objects of interest to the side she isn't turning to. She also recommended that we feed her on the side she least prefers. It's really difficult to get her to turn to that side, but when we work with her we really notice a difference. What has worked for you?

Marnie - posted on 12/08/2009

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My son has been seeing a physio since 9 weeks to fix a flat spot. He too preferred looking to one side, and it became more evident when he developed a flat spot. We saw the physio and she worked with his neck muscles and gave us some exercises to strengthen/loosen the other side.

Plenty of time on his tummy was the key... also putting a small handtowel (folded into quarters) underneath his shoulder to encourage the head to fall the opposite way when sleeping has helped alot.

Good luck!

Jade - posted on 12/07/2009

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My daughter likes to look to one side as well. my dr said to just turn her head in the other direction often. It takes time, but don't worry, he'll get there!

Rebecca - posted on 12/07/2009

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Our son was like this and we were refered to a massage therapist in our area to help us with techniques for massage at home to loosen the muscles. He is now 2yrs old and you would never know he ahd the problem. It ook about 3 weeks for everything to be "normal"

Good luck!!

Shalise - posted on 12/07/2009

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My daughter has the same problem. It's called tortocollis. Her dr sent us to a physical therapist and she does stretches with her. She also told me to have her facing the other way when i put her to bed because babies like to look out and will look the other way fro the wall. Since i have turned her around she has done much better and her flat spot seems to be going away.. I really don't think that a physical therapist is always neccesary. Oh and tummy time helps them build up those neck muscles too so they aren't so tight.:)
Hope this helps a little!

Nakita - posted on 12/06/2009

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well babies tend to look toward light so maybe try putting him in a spot that makes the side that he needs help with look in the direction of the light.

Megan - posted on 12/06/2009

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I don't have a story, but I can offer some advice. My daughter started wanting to only look in one direction as well. I asked around to some of the other mothers on my street and they gave me some good advice to counteract it. If your son is bottle fed, try having him drink the bottle on the opposite side, the one you need him to work on. It's a low stress stretching exercise that he won't really get upset with. Hope this helps!

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