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Developmental Muscular Torticollis: Outcomes in Young Children Treated by Physical Therapy

Taylor Janet L. MA PT; Norton, Ellen Stamos PT, PCS
Pediatric Physical Therapy: Winter 1997
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The purpose of this descriptive study is to report the outcomes of a case series of children treated with physical therapy for developmental muscular torticollis (DMT). The treatment program described emphasizes parental home programs of positioning and strengthening as opposed to hands-on passive range of motion. We studied a sample of convenience of 23 children (mean age = 18 months, SD = 9.7 months) whose parents agreed to a follow-up evaluation. Initial evaluations were reviewed retrospectively and compared with the follow-up, posttest data. Results showed that at an average of 14 months postinitial examination, 83% of the children had no observable head tilt, only slightly decreased (three to six degrees) passive and active cervical range of motion on the involved sides, and full lateral head righting in all but one child, and there was no residual facial asymmetry or plagiocephaly in 66% of the children. Ninety-five percent of the parents categorized the physical therapy from helpful to very helpful. Overall outcome was judged utilizing a point system that incorporated a variety of clinical aspects of torticollis. Good to excellent results were achieved in 96% of the children based on these criteria.

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