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Instr Course Lect. 2006;55:647-53.

Torticollis in infants and children: common and unusual causes.

Author information

1
Drexel University College of Medicine, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

Torticollis is a clinical symptom and sign characterized by a lateral head tilt and chin rotation toward the side opposite to the tilt. Many conditions cause torticollis. The differential diagnosis is different for infants than for children and adolescents. Congenital muscular torticollis associated with a contracture of the sternocleidomastoid muscle is the most common etiology of torticollis in infants. The condition of most infants with congenital muscular torticollis improves with a regimen of manual cervical stretching. Congenital anomalies of the occipital condyles and upper cervical spine must be ruled out before performing a release of the sternocleidomastoid muscle in a child who fails to improve with physical therapy. Unusual nonmuscular causes of torticollis in the infant also must be considered and include ocular torticollis caused by eye muscle weakness, Sandifer's syndrome resulting from gastroesophageal reflux, neural axis abnormalities, and benign paroxysmal torticollis. Torticollis in the older child is most frequently a manifestation of atlantoaxial rotatory displacement resulting from trauma or oropharyngeal inflammation (Grisel's syndrome). Retropharyngeal abscesses and pyogenic cervical spondylitis are unusual infectious causes of torticollis. Intermittent torticollis associated with headaches, vomiting, or neurologic symptoms may be caused by tumors of the posterior fossa. Benign and malignant neoplasms of the upper cervical spine are rare causes of torticollis in children. Torticollis resulting from cervical dystonia is also rare in children but may be seen in older adolescents.

PMID:
16958498
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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