Torticollis Left head tilt right head turn L2 exercise program (2072)

Key points below

Level Two exercise program

These exercises and activities are for the older baby or toddler with torticollis. Only do these exercises if a physical therapist has talked to you about them. Call (414) 266-2858 with any questions or concerns.

Note: It is important for you to lay your baby on their tummy several times a day while awake and supervised. This is called tummy time. By the time they are 4 months old your baby should spend a total of 60 to 90 minutes of time on their tummy per day.

turning neck

Neck turn

  • Lay your baby on their back or hold them against your chest.
  • Have your baby move their eyes and head to follow a toy or your face as far as possible to the left.
  • Help your baby turn their head until your baby is looking over the left shoulder. Hold their right shoulder so it does not rise up.
  • Hold this stretch for up to _____ seconds.
  • Do this stretch ______ times.
  • After the stretches, try to get your baby to look actively from right to left without your help.

Note: Use a gentle flat hand instead of fingertips (as shown) to help turn the head or provide pressure at the forehead. Do not press on the jaw.

tilting child's neck

Side neck tilt

Hold your baby’s left shoulder so it does not rise up. Gently tilt your baby’s head to the right. Move the head so that the right ear moves toward the right shoulder. Make sure the left shoulder does not move when the head moves. Hold this stretch for up to _______ seconds. Do this stretch _____ times.

side tilting

Side tilt carrying position

Hold your baby on their left side as your baby faces away from you. One of your arms will be between your baby’s legs. Use your other hand to gently tilt the head to the right by moving your baby’s ear towards the right shoulder. Make sure the left shoulder does not move when the head moves. Hold this stretch for up to _______ seconds, _____ times. You can also carry your baby in this position to work on active tilting to the right.

child stretching neck

Neck stretch

Put your child on their back over your lap with the head supported with your hand. Slowly lower your child’s head, while holding their shoulders down. Use toys or a mirror for distraction.

child laying down


Help your baby roll over on their left side with the left arm stretched up overhead. Look for the head to lift or tilt to the right while rolling.

Help your baby at the hips or have them reach with the right arm to start the movement.

tummy time

Tummy time on elbows

Put your baby on their stomach. Use a towel roll to help prop your child onto the elbows. Be sure to prop equally on both arms. Practice at least three times a day. By 4 months of age, a baby should be able to do a total of 90 minutes of tummy time a day. Have your baby try to look up and to the left side.

arm straight stretch



Tummy time on straight arms

Put your baby on their stomach. Help your baby push up onto straight arms with open palms. Be sure to use both arms equally. Help your baby shift their weight from side to side in this position. Practice at least three times every day. Have your baby try and look up and to the left side.


You can also put your baby over your leg or a firm pillow. Have your baby push up with straight arms. Try to get your baby to look up.

reach for feet

Reach to feet

Try to get your baby to reach for their feet while lying on the back. Help by gently bending your baby’s legs and helping touch their feet. Sometimes it is helpful to have your baby reach for a toy, jingle socks or Velcro rattle.

pull to sit

Pull to sit

With your baby lying on their back, put your hands behind their shoulders. Have your baby look up at you with chin tucked. Gently help your baby into a sitting position having them do most of the work. You may also work on moving from sitting back down to back lying. Remember to do this after diaper changes.

side laying

High side lying

Have your baby sit or lean on their left side bearing weight on the forearm. You want to see a head tilt to the right as your baby reaches forward with the right arm.


push to sit

sitting on side

Push to sit

Start with your baby lying on the left side bearing weight on the forearm. Help your baby push up to sitting with your left hand under their trunk. At the same time, give a very gentle push down on the right hip. Let your baby do as much of the work as possible. You want to see a head tilt to the right (ear to shoulder).

Side sit

Help your baby side sit to the left bearing weight on the left hand. Look for a midline head position or a tilt to the right and good weight bearing on the left arm. Have your baby reach out with the right hand.

Prop sitting

Prop sit

Help your baby bring their arms forward and put weight on the arms in a sitting position with legs extended. Help your baby push up into upright sitting again.



children playing

Midline sitting activities

  1. Work on forward reaching with both arms in the middle while sitting.


  2. Work on having your baby reach across the middle of their body with their right hand while the left hand is on the ground or floor.
baby on ball

Trunk strengthening

Help your baby strengthen their trunk and neck while sitting. Do this by tilting your baby’s body to the side, forward and backwards in a diagonal pattern. Look for your baby to return to a midline position after you tilt them.

carrying a child


Carry your baby facing out to encourage looking to the left.

child on seat


Use a folded washcloth ¼ – ½” thick taped under your baby’s right buttock when they are sitting on the floor and playing or in a high chair. This will help your baby tilt their head to the right to strengthen the neck muscles in this position.

Simple changes that can help your baby’s progress

Illustrations courtesy:  Therapy Skill Builders Inc. (3830 E Bellevue, PO Box 42050, Tucson AZ  85733)
Visual Health Information (PO Box 44646, Tacoma WA  98444)
VORT Corporation (PO Box 60132, Palo Alto, CA  94306)



Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or physical therapist if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.