HSHS St. Joseph's Highland Physical Therapist receives training to treat infants and children with Torticollis.
Christy Irving, physical therapist at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Highland, recently received specialized training to treat infants and children with torticollis.
Torticollis is most commonly seen as congenital muscular torticollis, when positioning in the womb or shortly after birth causes a muscle on the side of the neck to shorten. “This muscle tightness restricts mobility and often the child keeps their head facing one direction most of the time,” shared Tina Frank, director of rehabilitation at St. Joseph’s Hospital Highland.
The most common signs of torticollis include restricted neck rotation or side bending, a flat spot on the back side of the head or noticing when the child tends to favor one side during feeding or play. Physical therapy intervention before the age of three months has the best prognosis.
Torticollis can be treated conservatively with physical therapy through a combination of stretching and manual techniques. Therapists can also provide important education about positioning and further prevention. A physician referral is required for the therapy, as the child’s pediatrician can first assess the patient to determine if physical therapy is needed. Physical therapy is typically covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurances.
Frank explained why therapy staff pursuing training in this specialized treatment is important. “Most patients experiencing this issue are under the age of one and respond very well to an early intervention. Restoring their mobility allows them to reach developmental milestones during the typical time frames,” she said. “Providing advanced pediatric services to those in our community is critical to fulfilling our mission. I am extremely proud of Christy, who pursued getting this specialty training as she always has the best interests of her patients at heart.”