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Torticollis + Neck / Shoulder Stretches

Posted by Jesse Lillejord on
Torticollis / Neck / Shoulder Stretches: 
Torticollis has two components - the head is rotated one direction and then laterally flexed (tilted) over the opposite side. It is often due to a tightening and shortening of the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle. To address the tilting component of the condition, use one hand to stabilize the baby's shoulder - then using the other cup around the head over the ear and gently, but firmly, traction the shoulder down while you traction the head up and over to the other side. For the rotation component, hold baby in a side cradle. Allow the shoulder to hang down freely. Traction down on the shoulder - grabbing in the armpit not at the elbow - while pulling the head up with your other arm. Perform both of these stretches on both sides! Finally, for a more intense stretch - place babe over your knee and allow one arm to hang freely between your legs. Using the leg for support, flex baby sideways to stretch the side of the neck - babies can bend up to 90 degrees in this position so you won't hurt babe! 
To stretch the shoulders + upper body which can become tight in kiddos with torticollis, first grab onto the arm, above the elbow joint. Then stretch the arm across the body to the opposite side. You can add in mobilization by having your little one lay on their stomach, and applying pressure to the scapula and straightening the arm overhead. You can also tuck babes arms into their chest and while stabilizing the head, roll in different directions to loosen up the upper body [ pectoral girdle ]! 
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