Starting interventions as early as three months of age has significant impact
Recent research indicates that congenital muscular torticollis (CMT) can be effectively treated with early—almost immediate—physical therapy intervention.
“Early intervention for infants with CMT, initiated before three to four months of age, results in excellent outcomes,” according to the updated clinical practice guideline published in the October issue of Pediatric Physical Therapy.
According to the report, CMT affects between 4–16 percent of infants. Researchers led by Sandra Kaplan, PT, DPT, PhD of Rutgers University, offered the following recommendations:
- Education for all expectant parents and parents of newborns. Parents and caregivers should be taught about the importance of tummy time.
- Assessment of all infants for CMT and other asymmetries, performed by all healthcare professionals who care for newborns and infants.
- Prompt referral to a physician and physical therapist with experience in treating infants, as soon as CMT or asymmetry is noticed.
- Physical therapy examination and evaluation, including a revised classification system for CMT severity.
- Physical therapy intervention with the goal of improving neck range of motion, strength, and postural alignment. (Guidelines state: “Early intervention for infants with CMT, initiated before three to four months of age, results in excellent outcomes with 92 to 100 percent achieving full passive neck rotation and zero to one percent requiring surgical intervention.”
- Follow-up evaluation, including criteria for successful completion of PT.