Physical Therapist Questions Torticollis

ā€œI was diagnosed with torticollis and need to go to physical therapy. What kind of treatment will I receive?ā€

I developed torticollis, and my primary doctor referred me to a physical therapist. I am wondering how the physical therapist will treat my condition.

19 Answers

Great question that is hard to answer because it depends on what is causing your torticollis. Most often, it is caused by tight muscles, often referred to as muscle spasms, that pull your neck out of an ideal posture. Physical therapy can address the root cause of your issue that is leading to these muscle spasms and help to loosen up the muscles to allow for a more natural posture. Hope this helps.
No matter what the field, treatments that are specific to both you and the specific part of the neck are what will lead to both the best and the fastest improvements. With something like torticollis, the right and left sides of the neck are guaranteed to be different. Even from bone to bone, each segment of the neck can have astronomical differences.

So if you are not getting some level of immediate improvements, the treatments are not being tailored enough to you.
Physical therapy will help address the tightness of your neck muscles and strengthen muscles in the area which will help you with your posture and alignment.
Physical therapy will help you using different modalities including heat and stretching exercises will help your condition.
You should be receiving a mixture of manual therapy to stretch your neck, mobilize your spine; neuro re-ed for improving posture, awareness; therapeutic exercise to strengthen the opposite side.
The typical treatment for torticollis is exercise. A trained PT will evaluate the limitations and prescribe exercises to improve your ROM and decrease pain. They may also use modalities (heat or ice).
Hello, Iā€™m sorry that you are experiencing torticolis. 1st off I would do an examination to make sure that we are dealing with that diagnosis. Depending on how much pain and limitation we are dealing with, we would 1st warm up the affected area with some heat therapy, we would then do some stretches to get some movement back if tolerated and manual/massage to loosen the tension. Again, every patient that I treat is individually assessed and treated depending on pain and restriction. We also have laser therapy, electro stimulation, distraction machine, ultrasound that can be done, but again, it depends on what can be tolerated.
Hmm, that is interesting. Torticollis is typically found in newborn babies or occasionally in the elderly population. It is typically treated with manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue work to reduce tension on one side of the neck and then strengthening exercises.
Treatment is really dependent upon the style of the physical therapist. In my office, I am a manual based therapist that focuses on functional plane motions. I treat using the Maitland method and have found high success rates. It's important to have a combination of manual therapy (joint and soft tissue mobilizations - this is not a massage) in conjunction with the development of a strong home exercise program. What that entails would be determined during the initial evaluation. I hope this helps your questions.
Patients may be taught different positioning techniques for playtime, sleeping and feeding. These positions are targeted to help provide passive stretch on particular muscles to help break the pattern of side-bending and rotation of the head and cervical spine. Tracking objects and encouraging various movements that the therapist may educate the patient/parent on can help with carryover as well.


Gerald Loehr PT, DPT, TPI 1
Manual stretching of some tight neck muscles with correct hand placement and stabilization by physical therapist is the treatment of choice by most of the physical therapist for torticolis. Therapist will also focus on regaining the normal cervical range of motion, strengthening of muscles, core stabilization, and restoration of normal posture. Additionally, home exercises will be provided to you by your therapist to prevent the recurrence of condition.
Torticollis is generally treated with modalities for pain, stretching and strengthening exercises and postural education. Try to find a physical therapist that believes in manual therapy. Besides general massage, there are neuromuscular techniques that can be utilized by a skilled PT that should give you lasting relief.
Hi! Most treatments will focus on getting you out of the torticollis or "unstuck". This can be by stretching muscle and soft tissue as well as joint mobilization techniques to loosen the joints in the neck. Good luck!
Treatment for torticollis will usually involve some sort of stretching for the muscles that are tight around your neck, chest, and head.
Most likely you will be given some stretches to do daily at home. In the clinic you will work on postural strengthening and realignment, management of the muscle spasm that are turning your head and manual therapy to help eliminate soft tissue restriction. Some clinics may use taping techniques to help your body stay in proper alignment and retrain your postural muscles to normal.
Your treatment will most likely consist of passive range of motion stretching, soft tissue mobilization, possible joint mobilization, modalities such as hot/cold packs/traction/electrical stimulation/ultrasound and postural strengthening activities performed by the therapist and instructions on how to perform these activities independently at home. The therapist may not perform all of these treatments, but will likely choose from these and select appropriate treatments based on the findings of your initial evaluation and which treatments you respond best to.
Your initial visit will consist of an evaluation that will determine your specific deficits. From there, your therapist will discuss your goals and treatment plan that will most likely consist on modalities that may help to relax the involved musculature and flexibility exercises that will help to restore your mobility. I hope this information is helpful.
Your physical therapist will stretch/massage the area and teach you exercises to do to strengthen the weaker side of your neck.
Hello and sorry for your condition. First of all, a clear understanding of your condition is required. A proper assessment must be performed to determine the muscles involved. The muscles involved are usually the sternocleidomastoid and / or the trapezius muscles which have gone into severe spasms. Treatment would include interferential current, moist heat, ultrasound, active release technique, stretching and range of motion exercises. I, myself, being a Chiropractor, would do manipulation of the cervical and thoracic spine to release any joints that may be involved due to this. Keeping the neck muscles warm and stretching them at home helps ease the muscle spasms. I hope this helps you.