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Success Story No1
The Facts
It was a very distraught family that walked into our department with Baby Tanu (name changed). The child was only 7 months old. Her head was tilted to one side, her skull was flattened on the affected side, she exhibited severe facial asymmetry (one side of her face had grown while the other side had not), and she was unable to flip over from her back onto her stomach, something most 7-month-olds are able to do with ease.

The Diagnosis
Baby Tanu had a severe case of Torticollis, a condition where critical muscles of the neck are damaged, leading to deformities of the face, skull and retardation in overall growth and development.

The baby’s condition had been diagnosed by two paediatricians well before she came to us but certain myths and misconceptions had kept the family from choosing physical medicine as an early treatment option. Simply put: the family was of the opinion that a baby could not ‘do exercises’.

In fact, the family had approached a reputed children’s hospital in Mumbai. But despite a few sessions of physiotherapy, there were no results. However, when the baby’s condition grew worse, they finally approached us as a last resort.

The Therapy
Due to the severity of the Torticollis, Baby Tanu had not achieved any milestones and was not even able to turn over when first seen at 7 months.

We began physical therapy, initially twice a day, for the first three to four months. This involved lots of stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck muscles to correct the deformity.

It also involved painstakingly teaching the baby to flip over, roll, sit up and then crawl so that she could achieve the milestones of a baby her age.

In cases like Baby Tanu’s, parents’ involvement is critical as therapy must continue at home for treatment to be effective. Thankfully, we received the parents’ full cooperation.

Happy Ending!
It may have taken an entire year of physical rehabilitation but we were able to help Baby Tanu almost completely recover with practically no hint that she had once suffered a serious, obvious and limiting condition that had also left her looking disfigured.

Why, before the baby was brought to us, her parents had even been advised by a paediatric surgeon that surgery was their only hope! On the flipside, once Baby Tanu showed 80-per cent improvement, we advised that she be examined by a reputed neuropaediatrician just to make sure that there was no need for surgical intervention. The answer was a resounding “no”.

Baby Tanu’s case is especially amazing because Torticollis is best treated when the condition is diagnosed within a couple of weeks after birth. Since this baby was already 7 months old when therapy began, it was an especially challenging case. But, as they say, all’s well that ends in a smile!

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