This clinic serves the needs of infants and young children with plagiocephaly (abnormal shape of the head) and/or torticollis (asymmetrical posturing of the head, or head tilt, also known as "wry neck") and their families. The mission of the Cranial Cervical Clinic team is to provide comprehensive evaluations for each child and coordinate the care of children with plagiocephaly and/or torticollis to ensure appropriate intervention as early as possible.

Primary Program Goals:

The clinic strives to optimize the health, development and quality of life for infants and young children with plagiocephaly and/or torticollis. The primary goals of the clinic are to provide the following:

  • Comprehensive clinical care provided by a physician trained in pediatric rehabilitation medicine and a physical therapist who specializes in developmental and manual therapy
  • Community education addressing prevention
  • Early identification and treatment
  • Clinical research to better understand the influence of these conditions on future development and determine the most effective treatments

Interesting Trends:

This clinic started in February 2005 due to a significant increase in diagnoses of plagiocephaly. One medical center observed more than a six-fold increase from the years 1992-1994 (American Academy of Pediatrics Vol. 112 No. 1 Jul 2003). It is important that children sleep on their backs to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); however, it is a concern that children are spending so much of their awake time on their backs. It is not unusual for a baby to spend more than 18-20 hours with weight on the back of the head, which includes time spent in bouncy seats, car seats and swings. This constant pressure on the back of the head can cause an uneven shape of the head leading to other asymmetries within the body. Opportunities for supervised "tummy time" when awake is critical for a child's development and for promoting more symmetrical growth of head.

Signs and Symptoms:

How can I tell if my baby has plagiocephaly or torticollis?

  • Does your baby always keep the head tilted or turned to one side?
  • When looking down at the top of your baby’s head, is one ear further forward? Does one side of the forehead seem more forward? Does the back of the head seem flatter on one or both sides?
  • When looking at your baby’s face, does one eye seem smaller than the other? Is one ear higher than the other? Does one cheek seem fuller than the other?
  • Everyone has some asymmetry. But if you notice many of the characteristics noted above, you may want to discuss this with your pediatrician. If further evaluation is indicated, you or your pediatrician may contact the Cranial Cervical Clinic.

Primary Diagnoses Served:

  • Plagiocephaly
  • Cranial and postural asymmetries
  • Torticollis

Additional Resources: