The effectiveness of stretching for infants with congenital muscular torticollis

Bradley Poole, Swati Kale

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Congenital muscular torticollis (CMT) is a neck deformity that involves unilateral shortening of the sternocleidomastoid (SCM). Conservative physiotherapy management of CMT is primarily focused on stretching the affected SCM. However, there is limited research evidence on the use of stretching to improve the extensibility of SCM in infants with CMT.Aim: To investigate the effectiveness of stretching for infants with CMT.Method: A systematic search of AMED, CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) and Cochrane Library was conducted during the period 2011–2018.Results: Seven articles that met eligibility criteria were reviewed out of a total number of 415 articles that were screened; two articles were randomised control trials and five were cohort studies. The studies typically reported statistically significant benefits of stretching for the restoration of cervical range of movement and SCM thickness (p < 0.05). Appraisal of the studies revealed varied quality.Conclusion: The results suggest that stretching is an effective treatment intervention for the management of infants with CMT and early physiotherapy referral can lead to decreased treatment duration. However, due to a variation in study quality; additional high-quality research is needed to help formulate more robust conclusions.Keywords: Congenital muscular torticollis; , CMT, stretching, conservative management, physiotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-11
JournalPhysical Therapy Reviews
Issue number1-2
Early online date17 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Congenital Muscular Torticollis
  • Physiotherapy
  • Stretching
  • conservative management

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