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December 1959

Acute Torticollis in Pediatric Practice

Author Affiliations

Sacramento, Calif.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1959;98(6):756-764. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1959.02070020758011

Torticollis, or wry neck, is a condition in which the patient's head is tilted to one side in such a manner that the chin tends to point toward one shoulder and the occiput toward the opposite shoulder. The abnormal position of the head in cases of acute torticollis is due to the unequal contraction of the neck muscles, particularly the sternocleidomastoids. Acute torticollis in pediatric cases has received little attention in the literature compared with the many papers concerned with congenital torticollis.1-4 A description of the various forms of acute torticollis and their differentiation follows.

Postural Torticollis  Postural torticollis may be found in the newborn, is acquired in utero, occurs infrequently, is usually not painful, and is not associated with a sternocleidomastoid tumor. Stretching the affected sternocleidomastoid by passively rotating the head each day for a limited period of time corrects this type of wry neck.Postural torticollis in

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