Many children are born with birth injuries in California and elsewhere. If your baby is diagnosed with wryneck, you should know what it is and how it can be treated.
What is wryneck?
Wryneck is a birth injury, also known as torticollis, that causes a baby’s neck to be twisted and painful. It can develop while the baby is still in the womb but usually doesn’t manifest until birth. Although wryneck can often clear up on its own without any treatment, babies can relapse and suffer from it again.
Wryneck is caused by the baby’s head being in the wrong position while in the womb or when there’s a blood supply problem or muscle damage. In some cases, the cause is unknown.
How can wryneck be treated?
Although you can’t prevent wryneck, it can be treated. The doctor may coach you on neck-stretching exercises for your baby that you can do at home to help loosen the tight muscles on one side and strengthen the other side’s weaker muscles. These exercises can help straighten your child’s neck.
Physical therapy may be another treatment option if the at-home exercises aren’t enough. The doctor will want to examine your baby periodically to view his or her progress.
You can encourage head and neck movement when feeding your child by breastfeeding or bottle-feeding on the weaker side. While playing with your baby, hold or place toys on the weaker side to encourage him or her to turn his or her head that way. Alternate by moving to the stronger side. Continuing with this pattern can help strengthen the muscles in your baby’s neck.
You should also lay your baby on his or her stomach briefly while he or she is awake. It can help strengthen the neck muscles and treat wryneck. Position your baby on your lap, and sing or talk to encourage him or her to turn his or her head.
Wryneck often resolves on its own, but using these tips can help your baby recover sooner.