Physical therapy management of congenital muscular torticollis: an evidence-based clinical practice guideline: from the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association

Pediatr Phys Ther. 2013 Winter;25(4):348-94. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3182a778d2.


Background: Congenital muscular torticollis (CMT) is an idiopathic postural deformity evident shortly after birth, typically characterized by lateral flexion of the head to one side and cervical rotation to the opposite side due to unilateral shortening of the sternocleidomastoid muscle. CMT may be accompanied by other neurological or musculoskeletal conditions.

Key points: Infants with CMT are frequently referred to physical therapists (PTs) to treat their asymmetries. This evidence-based clinical practice guideline (CPG) provides guidance on which infants should be monitored, treated, and/or referred, and when and what PTs should treat. Based upon critical appraisal of literature and expert opinion, 16 action statements for screening, examination, intervention, and follow-up are linked with explicit levels of evidence. The CPG addresses referral, screening, examination and evaluation, prognosis, first-choice and supplemental interventions, consultation, discharge, follow-up, suggestions for implementation and compliance audits, flow sheets for referral paths and classification of CMT severity, and research recommendations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Practice / methods*
  • Humans
  • Pediatrics*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Torticollis / congenital*
  • Torticollis / rehabilitation
  • United States

Supplementary concepts

  • Congenital torticollis