Friday, May 28

No, not tortellini. Torticollis.

A few days ago I mentioned that Milo seems to prefer his right side. Like I said, he primarily looks to the right—even if we're talking to him in funny voices and making silly faces and gestures from the left. He might even smile, but he won't turn his head. We can sort of physically turn his head to the left, but he doesn't seem to have the same range of motion as the right, and he always quickly turns back toward the right.

So at his check-up on Monday, I mentioned this all to his pediatrician. She examined him, noting that yes, he did seem to look more to the right. She also noticed that he was getting a bit of a flat spot on his head. While I hadn't noticed it, I wasn't surprised at all to hear it. When he sleeps, he always turns his head the same way. Unfortunately, the doctor isn't convinced that this is a totally normal thing for a baby to do.

She suspects that Milo might have torticollis. Basically, this is a condition where the muscles in the neck are too tight on one side—maybe from odd positioning in the womb—and they don't loosen up on their own. Of course I googled it. Apparently this condition can require surgery if it goes undetected (and therefore doesn't get corrected early enough). Which is worrisome. But we are detecting it. If his right-side preference is, in fact, "it." I don't really think Milo has torticollis. He CAN look to the left. Maybe not quite as far, but he has some ability to turn his head both directions.

Regardless, we're going to get him evaluated. Our pediatrician referred us to Infant & Toddler Services. They focus on all sorts of early intervention for the kiddos, from problems like deafness or Down's Syndrome to speech delays and motor skills delays. They are going to send two people to our home to evaluate Milo. If he qualifies, he will begin seeing a physical therapist who will work with him to develop and stretch his neck muscles. If he doesn't qualify, a physical therapist will still teach us some exercises we can do with him to strengthen his muscles and encourage him to look both ways. They'll even reevaluate him after a few weeks or months to see how he is progressing. And it won't cost us a dime. It's all paid for by the state (and our tax dollars, I suppose, blah blah blah).

Since the check-up, we've already been focusing on trying to get Milo to look to the left. We lay him down facing the other way in his crib. We hold him using the opposite arm we normally do. We physically turn his head and try to get his attention with little toys and things. And it might be doing some good. We've already noticed that he looks left a little bit more often. There's still no question that he prefers the right, but I'm confident that he'll be just fine—no surgery required.


Stephanie said...

You know you're such a good mommy for observing this and mentioning it to your pediatrician... if he does have torticollis, it sounds like you've brought attention to it in time for some physical therapy.
Thinking about you.

Linda and Matthew said...

Matt noticed that Charlotte did the same thing. His solution was to tie her right arm to her body with a burp cloth and force her to reach for toys with her left. Unorthodox (and weird), but she started to use her left arm! I don't think she had torticollis, but Matt was hoping he could create an ambidextrous child. Weirdo.

katy said...

Amelia had Tortocollis when she was little as well, hers was actually pretty severe, her head was noticeably tilted to one side instead of straight up and down, we suspect it might have had something to do with the sleeping in bouncy seat slumpy-ness (either that or being baby A jammed down in the womb, whichever)

In any case, we had her in physical therapy for a few months (which she did not care for but helped) and learned some at home stretches and she did indeed get better with no surgery. I am pretty sure she's 99% cured by now :)

Good for you for noticing and getting some help for him, catching it early is DEFINITELY a good thing, the longer it goes on the harder it is to fix, I'm guessing at this stage it will be a cinch to correct

Lindsay said...

How does he do when you nurse on the other side? Gavin always preferred his right side as well, but it helped to nurse equally on both sides.

Aimee said...

My friend's son had that and the physical therapist gave them a collar-like thing to put on him. It was basically a cloth tube (about 1.5" in diameter) that fastened (velcro, I think) around his neck. My friend swore by this thing and even ended up making several of them herself.