Do you remember what it’s like to have a sore neck? How it hurts every time you move it, so you do your best to keep it still. Now imagine you’re a baby and you’ve just been born. Your little head, neck and shoulders would most likely have been squished and squeezed, whether it was a gentle natural birth or medical intervention was needed. You’re expected to feed, sleep and be a happy little baby but how can you do this well when your neck hurts?
Meanwhile parents often wonder why their child has difficulty feeding and settling. That cute little head tilt to one side could actually be a torticollis. This is a medical term for twisted neck which usually comes from a muscular knot or even vertebral issues. The problem with this is most babies spend lots of time on their back with their head resting on a firm surface. If it hurts to move their neck then the head stays in one position and this often leads to head flattening (plagiocephally). Medical studies have linked plagiocephally with developmental delays. Logically this makes sense when you think that this flattened portion of skull is impacting how the growing brain is able to develop.
So now you know about this potential problem, you need to know what to do about it. You need a practitioner who is trained in paediatrics and who is also capable of gently working on your baby. A chiropractor trained in paediatrics, would gently and thoroughly assess the baby or child. Common medical tests are used along with observing developmental cues. A good practitioner should explain everything to a level which allows the parent understand how the child is affected by the condition and then also how the child can benefit from treatment.
In my practice I like to involve parents to watch and to participate in small ways. I believe it is helpful if a parent can feel with me how their baby is moving and also what a dysfunctional joint or movement pattern feels like. Often the amazing thing is seeing the immediate changes after a correction is made, like little reflexes appearing that hadn’t been obvious before.
The really important thing is that your baby can now fully move their head. The younger they are, this could potentially stop flattening from ever happening. If flattening has already started, chiropractic can help it to resolve. We all want the best for our kids, to watch them grow and develop well. A paediatric chiropractor is an essential member of your child’s wellness team.
By Karen Hall, Chiropractor @ The Medical Sanctuary