Torticollis, also known as wry neck, can arise as a result of birth injury causing  damage to an infant’s neck muscles with or without nerve damage. It is a condition in which the neck muscles are involuntarily tightened on one side of the neck, causing the head to tilt one way while the chin points the other. The injury can be caused by the negligent use of excessive force or unnecessary traction during a difficult birth. However, this is a rare condition presented in less than half a percent of newborns. To succeed in a claim it must be demonstrated that the injury was caused by medical or midwifery negligence, as torticollis during birth is not always negligently caused. It can also be an unavoidable, non negligent complication of a breech birth and difficult delivery.

In Torticollis, the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle becomes scarred and shortened, sometimes with a non-tender lump, on the side to which the head is tilted. It can also lead to abnormal postures and movement of the head. Torticollis is not usually noticed until a child is over 6 months old.

There may also be a clinical negligence claim if injury has been caused by delay in diagnosis and treatment of torticollis. Conservative treatments for the injury can include physiotherapy and massage, neck collars and braces and/or a torticollis helmet to reshape the skull where there is also plagiocephaly (also known as “flat head syndrome”). Botox injections can sometimes be given to muscles on the opposite side of the neck. If conservative treatment is unsuccessful, surgery may be performed to elongate the SCM muscle, increase movement and enable the child’s head to be held up straight. 

Once a diagnosis is made, treatment should be commenced straight away. The longer the delay in diagnosis and treatment of an infant’s torticollis, the more likely that surgery may be required to correct the head tilt.  Further, an infant with torticollis may develop flattening of one side of the face which can be corrected at an early stage but will be irreversible after a prolonged delay in treatment, leaving the child with facial asymmetry. The child may also be left with “flat head” if that is not treated. An infant with a tilted head is likely to struggle with walking and is more likely to fall due to balance problems. Other problems caused by failure to treat the condition include difficulties with coordination, visual difficulties, developmental problems and muscular and skeletal problems. 

If your child has suffered from Torticollis or another birth injury due to medical or midwifery negligence, we can help you claim compensation.  

Our team of dedicated expert clinical negligence and birth injury solicitors have an excellent record and specialise solely in complex medical negligence claims. We have many years of experience in handling complex and high value birth injury medical negligence compensation claims. We have the expertise to obtain the maximum amount of damages to compensate and provide for your child’s future and to support you and your family through the process.  

Our team is led by Tony May, a specialist birth injury solicitor with an excellent record and with over 20 years experience and expertise in dealing with birth  injury compensation cases. 

Tony can be contacted by email on or by telephone on 01484 519999. Alternatively, you could call our team on the freephone number below.

We are members of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel and Action Against Medical Accidents (AVMA). We are accredited by the Legal Aid Agency and the Law Society to handle medical negligence claims. We are therefore authorised to deal with medical negligence investigations funded by Legal Aid and if you are not eligible for Legal Aid, we may be able to offer you a Conditional Fee Agreement (also known as “No Win No Fee”). 

We are based at our Huddersfield office but can visit you in your home or in hospital if you are unable to attend at one of our West Yorkshire offices. If you believe that your child or a member of your family may have sustained a birth injury as a result of medical negligence and/or negligence by a midwife, please contact our specialist medical negligence Legal Aid and no-win-no-fee lawyers. Initial advice is always free, whether in person, on the telephone or by e-mail. 

Contact Chadwick Lawrence for free legal advice on FREE PHONE  0800 028 2969 or email:

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