The following definitions will help you understand your home exercise program.

Torticollis

A tightening of the sternocleido-mastoid (SCM) muscle (i.e., the muscle that runs from the base of the neck, at the level of the collarbone, to the base of the skull behind the ear).

 

The action of the SCM

The muscle bends the head to the same side and turns the head away in the opposite direction.

Range of Motion (ROM)

There are two different types of ROM that we refer to often in physical therapy for torticollis.

  1. Passive Range of Motion (PROM): Muscular exercise without any effort on part of the patient. Also called “stretching”.
  2. Active Range of Motion (AROM): The range of movement at a particular joint that a patient is able to accomplish without assistance. Also called “strengthening”.

There are two motions that we typically stretch and strengthen for torticollis.

  1. Lateral flexion: The motion of bringing your ear to your shoulder
  2. Rotation: The motion of bringing your chin toward your shoulder

Positioning

Promotes improved head position and increases passive range of motion (PROM) and active range of motion (AROM).

Because children develop many skills before they begin standing or walking, we recommend that they spend time in a variety of floor positions. We advise parents to limit use of items such as “Johnny Jump-Ups” and “Exersaucers”.

In addition, we recommend that children diagnosed with torticollis spend time on their tummies and moving in and out of the tummy position. Activities that promote this movement will promote neck strength, which is the main goal in treating children with torticollis. You’ll be given information about supervised “tummy time” activities over the course of your therapy visits.

Please ask your therapist if you have questions regarding your home exercise program.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.