Head preference to one side, plagiocephaly and torticollis

It is not uncommon for babies to show a preference to lie with their head to one particular side. This can affect the position of the soft cranial bones and create a flat spot. Plagiocephaly can develop if babies continue to lie on one side, creating an asymmetrical distortion of the skull. Congenital torticollis is a condition that some babies are born with, whereby the muscles on one side of the neck are significantly shortened and contracted. This causes the baby’s head to be held in a permanently tilted position.

As osteopaths, we treat the musculoskeletal components of the head, face and neck to subtly release the structures that are contributing to plagiocephaly. We regularly measure a baby’s head growth to monitor changes in shape over time. In more severe cases, a plagiocephaly helmet may be indicated if osteopathic treatment alone is not enough. We will refer for this if indicated.

A baby with torticollis or plagiocephaly may have unique challenges around breastfeeding and these mothers may need extra support and advice during this time, which we can offer.