torticollis/flat head syndrome

[deleted account] ( 10 moms have responded )

Anyone dealing with this? Torticollis is when neck muscles are shorter on one side because of head position in the womb, causing the head to turn, usually toward the right. My three-month-old boy showed signs of torticollis very early after birth, but because of more major health issues, we waited to deal with it. Now his head is flattenening on the right side as a result of constant pressure. This is a normal side effect of torticollis, I hear.

Anyway, our pediatrician downplays it and says just to stretch the neck. He says not to worry about it. However, all the research I've done says to seek specialty help for the flattened-head syndrome.

I try not to be an alarmist about things, and I'm pretty calm. I just want to be sure I'm getting the best advice from my pediatrician. I feel like he automatically downplays anything, regardless of what it is.

So did any of you deal with this? What advice have you received? What's your course of action?

Thanks for any advice.


Amanda - posted on 12/16/2009




I noticed my son had a flat head when he was 3 months old. At Parkers 4 and 6 month check up the doctor said his head is still growing and that it will round itself out. I was also very concerned and still am. After I realized he was getting a flat head I noticed that he did favor one side when he laid. We started to alternate sides when we give him a bottle and lots of tummy time. So far it doesn't look like the flattening is getting any worse so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the doctor is right and his head will reshape. So maybe just try alternating feeding sides and have more tummy time. Good luck.

Jolene - posted on 12/17/2009




My daughter had torticollis, but not to severe and didn't have any head flattening. She got physical therapy for it (among other things). Mostly she stretched her neck and showed me stretches to do at home. She also had me put something in her carseat so when in there she couldn't tilt to the right at all. After a few weeks of physical therapy and stretching she is perfectly fine now. Not sure about the flatting of the head, but I would think if you try to avoid laying him on that side it would go back to normal. If you're really concerned there's nothing wrong with getting a second opinion.

Kevlyn - posted on 12/16/2009




i do not have a child that has this nor have i been around one with this, but if i were you I would trust my motherly instinct...if you think it needs to be looked into more then take your child to a different doctor..get a second opinion or two...


View replies by

Alex - posted on 12/09/2014




My LO went in for his 4 month well child checkup yesterday and we got a referral to a craniofacial specialist and our pediatrician suggested that we might have to put him in a helmet because his head is very misshapen and he has developed torticollis. I think the reason why his head is the way it is is because he has slept in a rocker or his car seat since I brought him home from the hospital because he had acid reflux really bad. the pediatrician did not even mention physical therapy or anything of that nature but she did act like it might be a problem being referred to a specialist bc my baby has Medicaid. I am anxious to get my son looked at. He has a lot of stiffness in his neck. Its especially noticable during tummy time. I am no longer letting him sleep in the rocker and am laying him down in his pack and play. I can tell he is not comfortable in such a large flat space since his rocker was so cozy and cradled him but he is slowly adjusting. Any advice? Anyone have similar situation?

Janelle - posted on 02/22/2014




My son has torticollis and flat head and was diagnosed at 6 months. Originally we were just given stretches to do at home for almost 2 months and 3 pediatricians told us that his flat head would correct itself eventually. Long story short, I got a referral to a Physical therapist that my son sees twice a week and he now has the helmet to correct his flat head. He has improved so much. Also, we live in Belgium and the stretches are more gentle. He loosens the tight muscle while turning his head. So my experience so far is physical therapy with the helmet is working. My son his 10 months now and will be in therapy until no more signs of torticollis and Dr estimated 4/5 months of wearing the helmet.

Romelia - posted on 01/30/2014




My Son also has Torticollis Flat Head Syndrome. His head was always towards the right side. His pediatrician referred his to Hanger which specializes in prosthetics and orthopedics. His head was measured and he now wears a helmet to correct it. He also was referred to a physical therapist that works with him once a week. She gives us excercises for us to do at home with him. His head is developing with the helmet. It's not as flat as before. He's making great progress. His neck now is stretched out and he is able to move his head to midline and to the left. I had noticed his head since birth and he was referred when he was 4 months. He is now 10 1/2 months.

Donna - posted on 12/18/2009




My son had a torticollis and it was picked up when he was about 2 weeks old we had regular physio visits and i would do his stretches 5 times a day! His neck is all fixed up now. He does have a flat spot but ihave spoken to 3 doctors now and they are not too concerned and it has got a lot better now that he's mobile!!!!.

It is hard to do the strtches when bubs gets bigger i know its hard when they scream but its better than the alternative. Try putting him in his cot so that the side he doesn't like to turn will have to if he wants to see whats going onand try pooping a rolled up towel next to his good side so that he doesn't turn his head that way, if that makes any sence.

Renae - posted on 12/17/2009




I was suspicious that my son had torticollis because he would only turn his head to the left so I had him checked out. I turned out it was not torticollis just a very bad habit!

You need to see a Paediatric Physiotherapist. You are absolutely right, this will NOT fix itself. I was told that head turning is often left untreated until picked up by a nurse or doctor at the 6 month check up and by then it is so bad the exercises and massage to correct can be painful. Get him seen by a physio immediately, the flat head is the least of his problems, its the muscles I would be worried about.

Sarah - posted on 12/17/2009




I noticed my baby was favouring one side (her right) probably for the last month or so. We've taken her to a baby chiropracter who noticed the same thing, that the muscles on one side of her neck were much stronger than the other. I mentioned it the other day to our child health nurse and she suggested lots of tummy time, and side lying time (on the side they don't favour). Her head isn't flat or anything so we're trying those things, our nurse said if it doesn't resolve in the next month or so she'll refer us to a physio.

Jessica - posted on 12/16/2009




i havent had to deal with this before but if your not happy with what your pedi is saying then get a second opinion, even from your GP?? you sound a bit concerned, and just because he thinks its just that easy to 'stretch the neck', well your with your baby every day and see how it effects him, so i would definatly get a second opinion!!

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms