Babies with minor torticollis cases may retain some movement in their head and neck, while sufferers of severe torticollis may have almost no mobility in this region. Fortunately, many cases of torticollis will go away on their own, allowing the child to regain full movement in their upper body. Extreme cases of torticollis can be much harder to treat.
When asking, “Can babies with torticollis turn their head?” it is important to understand the root damage that causes the condition. According to research from the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, the child’s ability to move their head will largely depend on the damage to the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM). This muscle extends down both sides of the neck, from the ears to the collarbone. When damaged, this muscle tightens, thereby limiting the infant’s movement.
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Most cases of torticollis get diagnosed during a routine physical examination. However, some physicians will perform blood tests or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
While the symptoms of torticollis may seem easy to spot in many cases, a medical examination is still necessary to make a proper diagnosis. After all, while the condition may appear to be torticollis at first, further examination may reveal that it is a different condition altogether.
If you already sought a medical examination and believe a missed diagnosis caused the torticollis to worsen, you may qualify to take legal action through a medical malpractice case.
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At-Home Treatments for Torticollis
It is possible to resolve some minor cases of torticollis by integrating small-scale physical therapy exercises into the infant’s daily routine. However, it is important that you consult with a physician before attempting to treat the condition at home, because severe torticollis may require surgeries, medication, or other treatment. At-home treatments for torticollis can include the following:
- Feeding the baby in a direction that encourages them to stretch out the affected side of the neck—you can do this during breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.
- When playing with your child, try to gently draw attention to a direction that stretches the affected area.
- For short intervals of about 10 to 15 minutes, place the child on your lap with their stomach facing downwards. After they are in the position, gently attempt to draw their attention up to you.
- Position the child’s face toward the wall when you put them down for bed, which may encourage them to stretch their neck muscles by turning to face the inside of the room. Just make sure to put them to sleep on their back, which decreases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
When Torticollis Results From Medical Malpractice
Countless cases of torticollis and similar conditions occur each year due to negligent medical staff. Torticollis can result from an injury that occurred during or after the birth, most likely due to unusual positioning in the birth canal or labor complications. A doctor or other medical professional can potentially become liable for such a birth injury to occur by:
- Failing to recognize and address when a baby is positioned awkwardly inside the uterus just before birth, increasing their risk of birth-related injury.
- Allowing the child to be born in a breech position with their buttocks facing the birth canal, which can cause their neck to become stuck or injured during delivery.
- Using tools incorrectly or unnecessarily during the delivery, such as forceps or vacuum extraction tools, which can injure the child’s upper body if used improperly.
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Birth Injury Lawyers Fighting for Victims of Torticollis
If your newborn develops torticollis during the birthing process because the attending physicians put them in harm’s way, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. While babies with torticollis can turn their heads in some cases, they may require physical therapy, medication, and other medical attention to recover fully. You may also seek compensation for these damages.
Here at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, our attorneys have made it our mission to fight back against medical malpractice. The way we see it, nobody has the right to betray your trust and hurt your child, especially the physicians who you chose to assist with your delivery.
After reviewing your case and discussing your legal options, our attorneys can be there for you every step of the way. If desired, the Birth Injury Lawyers group can even handle the entire legal process from start to finish, allowing you to focus on your child during this stressful time.
To get started with your free case consultation, contact a representative at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529.