Congenital Muscular Torticollis (CMT) occurs with excessive contraction or shortening of the sternocleidomastoid muscle. It is hypothesized that it occurs either as a result from traumatic birth or neck positioning in the uterus. With an adaptively shortened or contracted SCM, the head appears laterally flexed to the affected side and contralaterally rotated. Obviously, there is a muscular imbalance occurring due to hyperactivity from the affected side and hypoactivity from the opposite side.
This study looked at 28 consecutive patients retrospectively that were treated with kineseology taping. They used a couple methods: a) tape was placed along the unaffected side's SCM and upper trap with no stretch for muscle facilitation b) tape was applied along the SCM on the affected side with a stretch for muscle relaxation c) a combination of the two. The study found the muscle relaxation technique to be the most successful, even though the other 2 methods were successful as well. While taping may be of benefit when treating infants with CMT, it should not be used alone. Consider using the taping technique as an adjunct to the rest of your interventions to potentially facilitate a more efficient therapy session.
It should be noted that the results of this study should be considered carefully. This was a retrospective, non-randomized study that lacked blinding of the physical therapist. Further research is needed to explore the potential benefits of kineseology taping for CMT more expansively. Check out the article for yourself!
Anatomy Review of Sternocleidomastoid ("Kendall"):
Origin: Sternal head: cranial part of manubrium
Clavicular head: medial 1/3 of clavicle
Insertion: lateral surface of mastoid process; lateral 1/2 of superior nuchal line of occipital bone
Action: Ipsilateral lateral flexion, contralateral rotation, extension of upper cervical spine, flexion of lower cervical spine
Innervation: accessory nerve (CN XI), C1-2
Kendall F, McCreary E, Provance P, Rodgers M, Romani W. "Muscles: Testing and Function with Posture and Pain." 5th ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005. 148-149. Print.
Ohman A. "The Immediate Effect of Kinesiology Taping on Muscular Imbalance for Infants with Congenital Muscular Torticollis." PM&R: The journal of injury, function and rehabilitation. 4.7 2012. Print. 504-508.