Parents Holding Baby with Torticollis

Torticollis is a condition that can make the start of your baby’s life a challenge – with difficulty sleeping, self-soothing, and feeding.

But in this article, you can learn about a cuddle-friendly, tear-free torticollis treatment that has worked wonders for the parents, and baby’s at our specialist New Jersey clinic.

What Is Torticollis?

Torticollis is like an uninvited guest that disrupts your child’s early journey. It’s marked by a persistent tilt or turn of the head, and it can wreak havoc on their development.

You might also notice that your child hates tummy time, and has an uneven head shape due to the constant pressure on one particular area.

But don’t worry; you’re not alone in this.

Many parents like you face the same challenges, and there are natural, safe, and proven treatments for torticollis.

The “Wait and See” and “Do It Yourself” Approaches

When you’re looking to treat torticollis in your baby, it’s too common for parents to be told to “Just wait and see” which is an incredibly frustrating piece of advice to be given – you don’t want to wait and I totally understand.

Another common thing parents will be told is to “Watch YouTube for neck stretches” and then be expected to miraculously perform these safely and effectively at home…

That’s difficult for any untrained person.

Let alone a parent who is dealing with a screaming, wriggling baby, and feeling terrified about hurting their little one during these stretches.

The Long-Term Impact of Torticollis

Despite the flaws in the “wait and see” and “do it yourself” approach, it’s often something parents do initially.

But the cost of not treating torticollis as early as possible can be significant for your child.

Ignoring it or relying solely on neck stretches that you try to do alone and inconsistently can lead to delays in both visual and gross motor development, as well as physical adaptions.

Children with untreated torticollis can often struggle in later life to keep up with their peers in terms of motor skills and coordination, sensory skills, and visual development.

And this can have a big impact on their self-esteem and confidence at school due to their difficulty completing tasks others can manage with ease.

There is also the physical adaptions that a persistent head tilt can result in.

Baby’s heads are very malleable and when they are constantly sleeping, and putting pressure on one part of their head, the shape of the head and skull can change result in a flat spot.

Again, as well as the physical impact, there is an emotional impact to having a flat spot on their head which could be avoided with the right treatment for their torticollis.

Tear-Free Torticollis Treatment – Total Motion Release (TMR)

But here’s the good news: there’s a groundbreaking approach that can change the game for your child.

It’s something we’ve used in our specialist clinic for many years, and been life-changing for babies with torticollis, and ended a lot of stress, worry and anxiety for parents too.

It’s called Total Motion Release (TMR).

And addresses Torticollis with a whole-body approach.

By looking at the whole body, we can identify whether their torticollis is caused by tightness in the mouth, a tongue tie issue, or tightness in the pelvis from being squished in your uterus for nine months.

In many cases, the tightness that is causing the head tilt is not the only area of tightness in the body, and it often occurs because of another part of the body – such as the pelvis.

When our expert team uses this whole body approach, we can deliver sessions that treat torticollis in a fraction of the time, ensuring it doesn’t impact your baby long-term.

Plus, this approach is much more gentle, with no painful stretching, and no tears.

That means treatment is a much more enjoyable experience for parents and their babies.

Free “No Stretch” Screening For Torticollis

If your child has been diagnosed with torticollis and you’ve not received the treatment your baby needs, or you’re just noticing the warning signs of torticollis and haven’t been to your doctor, here is an invitation to speak to our expert team for FREE.

Demand at our clinic is very high, but we are creating 5 spaces for Free “No Stretch” Screenings For Torticollis.

This is a 100% free appointment designed to help you understand what’s happening with your baby, and how you can help them overcome torticollis before it leads to long-term consequences.

Plus, the right treatment plan can offer very quick results so you can soon get to more enjoyable tummy time, fewer tears during the night, and an easy time feeding for your little one.

To schedule your Free “No Stretch” Neck Screening for Torticollis and take the first step toward your child’s brighter future, click HERE or call us on 908 543 4390.

Schedule Your Free “No Stretch” Screening For Torticollis

Not Ready To Visit Our Clinic Yet?

Then download a copy of our free expert report – A Parent’s Guide To Torticollis – which contains 5 stress-free strategies to solve stubborn head tilts & turns.

It’s a digital copy and will arrive in your inbox as soon as you’ve entered your details.

More Free Help For Parents Of Baby’s With Torticollis

Read our blog – Torticollis – A Tearless Approach To Treatment

Watch our video – Torticollis and Total Motion Release (TMR)

On social media? Then Like Our Facebook Page or Follow Us On Instagram for more helpful tips and advice.

How do babies develop head control?

Babies have just spent 9 months growing and developing in the womb, where they were just floating around!

As newborns, they are fully reliant on mom and dad to support where their bodies go and what they see, hear, touch and smell.

With practice, new experiences, and time, babies develop head control through a combination of increased muscle strength and coordination. As they grow, infants begin to control the movements of their head by strengthening the muscles in their neck, upper back, and throughout their bodies. They also learn to coordinate the movement of their head with their eyes, which allows them to fixate on objects and track movement. This stimulates the development of the vision system, which also develops as a result of movement experiences. Additionally, as babies spend time lying on their backs, lying on their stomachs, and even being carried, they have the opportunity to practice lifting and controlling their head movements.

When do babies hold their heads up by themselves?

Babies typically begin to hold their heads up by themselves around 3-4 months of age. This is a significant milestone in their development, as it indicates that they are gaining control over the muscles in their neck and upper back. However, it’s important to note that all babies develop at different rates, and some may start holding their heads up earlier or later than others. Some babies may be able to hold their heads up briefly as early as 2 months, while others may not be able to hold their heads up until they are 5 months old. It is important to also be mindful if a baby was born prematurely. We want to consider the skills of a baby who was born prematurely in comparison with their adjusted age and not just their chronological age.

It’s important to remember that skills will develop as babies have the opportunity to try out new skills. That means that babies need lots of time to experiment with movement! The best way to do that is on the floor on a blanket with both toys (consider black and white toys or cards for our youngest of babies) and also with us. Get down on the floor with baby to play and if there is a big brother or sister, have then get in on the action too. If you have barriers to getting down on the floor to play, you can do the same play activities on a couch where you can be sitting more comfortably.

Top 3 positions that are helpful for babies to strengthen their necks

Here are our Kid PT top 3 positions that can be helpful for babies to strengthen their necks:

  1. Tummy time: Lying on the stomach while supervised is one of the best ways for babies to strengthen the muscles in their neck and upper back. Think tummy down time though! Baby can be tummy down while being carried on your shoulder, on your lap, or on your chest. Tummy time does not have to be flat on the floor, especially during the first couple of months when maybe will have more success doing it on an inclined position.Tummy down positioning should start day one, but don’t stress about how it is done!
  2. Side-lying position: Lying on their side with their head supported can also help babies to strengthen their neck muscles, especially when they start to lift their head and shoulders. Lying on their sides will also stimulate rolling to either their backs and bellies. This gives babies the experience that they can move their bodies, which leads to them trying to make it happen again and again! When babies roll they are practicing controlling their necks in 3D positions to master head control in all planes.
  3. Playing on their backs: Although there is a lot of emphasis on tummy time, playing on their backs is also good for babies. This is not the same as playing in a bouncer, car seat, or other semi-reclined seat. Many of these semi-reclined seats limit head movement and block exploration. Playing on the floor on their backs like in the photo below is fantastic for the development of head control. You want to see the baby turning their head side to side, reaching for things, and moving their arms and legs in this position.
  4. Sitting on your lap: When babies are sitting on a loved ones lap, they are looking around at their environment or looking at their loved one cooing away. They are learning how to respond to movements to keep their head steady in one position as we rock and bounce during play.
  5. Carrying baby: Baby wearing or carrying your baby can also be helpful for the development of head control. When you are holding or wearing your baby and moving through space, the baby senses the movement and turns their muscles on in response. It’s a win-win for being close to you and getting stronger at the same time.

When should I get help if my baby isn’t holding their head up?

If your baby is struggling to hold their head up during tummy time or prefers to look in one direction, it is best to seek out professional advice. At Kid PT, Dr. Joni always tells parents that when they come in for a free screening they will either learn how to help their child or they will get piece of mind that everything is ok. There is nothing to lose!

To learn more about the developmental process in the first year and understand what to expect as your little one learns to move, check out Dr. Joni’s free guide, The 6 Keys to Gross Motor Development In the First Year. The goal of this guide is to help parents find out when their baby just needs more time and when their baby may need some help to meet their milestones!

If your worries about your baby’s development are keeping you up at night (and we know how precious sleep is right now!), then we would like to invite you to come in for a Discovery Visit to meet with one of Kid PT’s physical therapists. At a Discovery Visit, we will talk about your concerns and make a look at your baby’s movement skills.

You can request for a free visit HERE.

Do you want to learn more about pediatric physical therapy and what it is. You can read more about it here. I know as a parent it can scary to take your baby to a new medical appointment. Rest assured that our visits are generally filled with smiles, giggles, and play. Babies have no idea they’re “working”, but just know they’re having fun. In fact, one of our top values at Kid PT is for the therapeutic process to be not just effective from a movement perspective, but for it to be as easy and positive as can be along the journey.

If you have any questions, we are here for you. You can call us at (908) 543-4390 or email Dr. Joni directly at

Just remember parents, you go this!

What does torticollis look like? A child will tilt their ear towards the shoulder and will turn to the opposite direction. A child with left torticollis will tilt their head to the left and prefer to look to the right. A child with right torticollis will tilt their head to the right and prefer to […]

The child in utero is curled up tight to fit in such a tight space.  If a baby’s neck is tilted, it is visually obvious to the parent and pediatrician.  If they have asymmetry elsewhere the observations may be more subtle.  It may be harder to put one arm in the onesie, the child may prefer to play with toys on one side, or the child may crawl with one leg dragging behind.  Read more

Pediatric Physical Therapy In Action

“My son can’t keep up with his twin.”

“My daughter is always tripping and gets frustrated.”

“We finally got answers as to why my child is delayed, but now what?”

Do these concerns sound familiar to you? Have you been worried about your child and wondering where you might find answers and help?  If so, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s start by answering the question-

What is a Pediatric Physical Therapist and Who Do They Help? 

Pediatric Physical therapists (PTs) are licensed health professionals who have specialized knowledge and experience in the unique aspects of working with children and their families to improve motor development, independence, fitness and active participation in the family and in the community. Pediatric PTs work with children from birth through adolescence and participate on teams with other specialists, including physicians, occupational therapists and speech therapists.

They work with children to improve their brain-body connection, balance, strength, body awareness, coordination, and movement skills from crawling and walking to jumping and hopping. Pediatric physical therapists work with children to improve their sensory awareness and motor abilities. Improvement these skills can have a far ranging impact on the child beyond the movement itself, such as improving confidence, success in school, and social interaction.

Pediatric physical therapy often looks like play, but that is part of the magic! Pediatric physical therapists know how to engage the child with fun, share the joy of movement and combine that with the science of the brain and body. All these pieces come together to stimulate to new skills that the child can use in daily life at home, at school and in the community. New skills means new confidence and new success!

Read more

“I watched a remarkable, quiet, tearless session…that ended with his body and head in midline. No neck stretching!! No stretching of any kind!  It’s particularly appealing in that parents get to hug and hold their children and get changes…without imposing any demands.”
Billi Cusick’s PT, MS, COF

Torticollis is a term used when a baby tends to keep their head tilted or turned to one side. The most common type of torticollis in children in Congenital Muscular Torticollis. The head is positioned in various degrees of tilt to one side and then rotation to the opposite side.Evidence-Based Care Guideline for Management of Congenital Muscular Torticollis in children age 0 to 36 months describes the traditional approach to torticollis treatment, which includes stretching, positioning, and active movement on the weaker side.  The guideline does include assessing the full body, but treatment of these findings is not specifically recommended.  Traditionally, the therapist will assess the full body, but then treat the neck in isolation because this is the most visible and obvious problem area.

The TMR approach to torticollis addresses the body as a WHOLE.  Eliminate imbalances in the larger muscles to allow the tiny neck muscles to do their job spontaneously.  Its like a potted plant growing crooked.  We don’t stretch the leaves or the little stems.  We repot the roots so that the plant can grow straight.  Our visual and balance systems will automatically bring the head to the middle once we help balance out our roots, which in the body is the pelvis.

Some red flags that parents may notice outside of the head position or turning preference is that it may be harder to put one arm in the shirt when dressing, the baby always rolls to one side, or the baby learning to sit always falls in the same direction.  Some other signs are bottom scooting rather than crawling on hands and knees, cruising along the couch in only one direction, and walking with one foot turned out.

Parents are taught how to do positioning and play at home that comfortably releases the bodies restrictions. They are also taught how to monitor their child’s movement patterns over time, so that if asymmetries increase while a child is learning a new skill, they will know how to address it.

Curious if this tearless appropach may be best for you and your baby?  Call us to set up a screening at 908-543-4390.