The calm and soothing approach of osteopathy and babies makes it great for treating a wide range of health conditions in children and infants. Your osteopaths at Bodywise Osteopathy are highly trained in gentle, non-manipulative techniques that are very beneficial in optimising the health of children and babies. Osteopathy works really well for this age group due to its extremely gentle approach.
Osteopathy and Babies
Having a baby is one of the highlights of being a parent. However the process of giving birth, as many women tell me daily, is a very physically stressful experience! Understatement! Not only for mum, but baby too.
Some describe the birthing process as our very first ‘trauma’. At the time of birth, your baby’s body is composed mostly of cartilage, this is especially so with the skull, whose bones are more like membranes that are soft and pliable, allowing for an easier passage through the birth canal. This pliability is generally a good thing however in some instances the membranous skull bones are susceptible to strain and the effect of ‘moulding’. You may have noticed on some new-born babies that their head is slightly asymmetrical, flattened or markedly pointed, which may indicate a physically strenuous birth for the baby.
Usually the process of moulding will resolve within a number of days after birth however in some instances it may remain and will need osteopathy and babies treatment as a result. There is a small risk that, if left untreated, the bony plates may remain overlapped, pulled apart or remain under excessive strain. A situation like this can result in over-tension or pinching of the delicate membranes that cover the nervous system, in addition to compression of the joints of the neck and head and upper back. These developments may lead to blockages in nerves that control what would normally be simple body functions such as feeding, digestion and breathing along with other imbalances in the body. The sume effect is- you have a cranky, crying baby on your hands!
Such problems may be accentuated if the labour has been too long, too short, caesarean, breech, or traumatic such as births when instruments/forceps are used.
Signs to look out for that may indicate a need for osteopathy and babies check-up include:
- Irritability & difficulty sleeping
- Excessive crying or colic
- Reflux, wind or digestive issues
- Feeding difficulties such as attaching or sucking
- Difficult birth such as assisted delivery or caesarean.
- Obvious asymmetries in head shape, or bruising
NB: At Bodywise Osteopathy and Babies we encourage all parents who are concerned about the health of their child to initally seek the advice of their family General Practitioner- just to be sure there’s nothing serious requiring immeasiate medical intervention.
Osteopaths have a finely tuned sense of touch that allows them to detect strain patterns throughout your baby’s whole body. They use their palpatory – sense of touch to assess the subtle movements of the baby’s skull and body, and use equally gentle techniques to release restrictions and to stimulate the babies own inherent healing mechanisms, aiding a return to health.
Some of the conditions that occur in babies may persist or become apparent in the young child.
Some common problems in young children that osteopaths may potentially help with include:
- Postural problems
- Sinus problems
- ‘Growing Pains’
- muscle aches and joint pains
- sports injuries
If your child has had a fall, especially if they hit their head or fall on their spine of bottom it is a good idea to have them checked out by an osteopath. Such seemingly minor trauma can be the catalyst to a life of problems that osteopaths spend more time treating in adults because they weren’t treated properly when the incident occurred in their youth.
Your osteopath will be able to find any restrictions that may be present, and then through treatment, they can prevent further problems from occurring.
Sporting injuries are also common in children, as are other adolescent conditions such as Osgood Schlatter’s Disease (Jumpers Knee) and Scheuermann’s disease. Osteopathy can be of great benefit in such conditions as well as with recurrent problems such as ankle sprains.
Your child’s posture is very important, and it is a good idea to keep a close eye on how it’s developing. Heavy school bags and increased use of computers can cause postural problems that may become more difficult to address as your child gets older. Signs to look out for, which indicate an early problem with posture include, asymmetry in the shoulders (one higher or more forward than the other), excessive slouching, and curvature of the spine or turning in or out of the feet. Check your child’s shoes – do they wear out quickly on one side more than the other? This can also point towards postural imbalance.