Saturday, 21 August 2010

Are you worried about your child's headshape or torticollis?

Plagiocephaly is a condition characterised by flattening of the side of the skull, commonly caused by a positional head preference towards that particular side.


Brachiocephaly is a condition characterised by flattening of the back of the skull.


Scaphocephaly is a condition characterised by a disproportionately long and narrow skull.


Torticollis is commonly associated with head shape abnormalities, in particular plagiocephaly. Torticollis, or wry neck, is a condition which results in tightness and shortening of the sternocleidomastoid muscle of the neck. This is often characterised by a limited range of motion in both cervical rotation and lateral flexion. The head is typically tilted in lateral flexion down towards the affected muscle and rotated toward the opposite side.


Tips for managing early headshape abnormalities:
  • Monitor your child for any positional head preference(s)
  • If plagiocephaly, facilitate lying on the non-affected side (with rolled towel or pillow placed behind to support spine) under supervision or lying on the back (pressure on back of head, not side)
  • If brachiocephaly, facilitate alternate lying on both sides (with rolled towel or pillow placed behind to support spine) under supervision
  • Perform regular stretches to the neck (plagiocephaly: towards non-affected side; brachiocephaly: both sides)
  • Encourage and facilitate active head turning to strengthen neck muscles
  • Perform regular tummy time to strengthen neck muscles
  • Sit up in 'Fraser Chair' or baby seat to reduce prolonged time lying down
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    TIPS for managing torticollis:
    • Perform regular stretches to the neck (every care), moving in opposite directions to the tight muscle (tilt head sideways towards non-affected side, rotate towards affected side). Hold stretches for approx 15secs and repeat 2-3x.
    • Encourage and facilitate active head turning to strengthen neck muscles
    • Perform regular tummy time to strengthen neck muscles
    • Sit up in 'Fraser Chair' or baby seat to reduce prolonged time lying down

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