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Plagiocephaly, More Than a Cosmetic Problem

224511Plagiocephalyis a condition that may to some, appear to be just a cosmetic problem. It describes a misshapen head that can be caused prior to, or during birth, or from torticollis, a condition that causes a baby to favour turning the head and neck in one direction. However, as Northern Beaches chiropractor Dr. Rachael Veronesipoints out, a third cause, has become more prevalent in Australia since the introduction of the SIDS campaign in 1992, designed to get babies to sleep on their backs instead of their side or tummy. All these causes of Plagiocephaly result from mechanical forces pressing on the baby’s rapidly growing skull.

Brookvale Chiropractor, Rachael Veronesi, goes on to say, that for parents, deciding whether to go ahead and get treatment for an infant affected by Plagiocephaly, might, in the past, have come down solely to the degree of cosmetic effect of the condition. However, scientific literature is beginning to provide more information about a variety of functional deficits affecting eyes, ears, jaw and motor control as well as an increased risk of delay in hitting the cognitive milestones that seem to be closely associated with deformational plagiocephaly.

This new information on the risk of long term functional deficits that might potentially affect a child’s correct development are leading more and more parents to seek Chiropractic help. If your child is showing signs of this condition, getting an early assessment from a qualified practitioner should be your first step. Please call Neurobalance Chiropractic practice now on 02 9938 5456 to arrange an appointment. We can help by correcting these structural and functional problems and help you, help your child to reach his or her, full potential.

How Chiropractic Treatment Can Help

Chiropractic treatment for plagiocephaly is so gentle that it is safe for infants from newborn. It involves restoring the normal range of movement to the neck where torticollis is a problem by using gentle, passive joint and muscle work. To help restore the correct head shape, cranial bone remoulding,a very safe form of therapyis used. This term might sound a little dramatic but it describes a procedure that many babies sleep through!

Self Help Tips To Use At Home

  1. Tummy Time is great for babies as it can help with both cognitive development and motor coordination. It has a positive effect on the cerebellum of the brain, (the area responsible for managing balance), by stimulating the upper neck muscles that activate the nerve pathways. Tummy time can begin from newborn and last for as little as half a minute – but encouraging this, three or more times each day can be very beneficial.
  2. Repositioning your Baby’s Headis a technique used to prevent the baby laying or pressing on their ‘flat’ spot. If started early, this can be extremely helpful as it is most effective up to about the age of four months old. Try to reduce the length of time spent in car seats, buggies or anywhere else that results in pressure on the back of the head.
  3. Helmets are a popular way of improving the appearance and shape of the skull for a baby affected by plagiocephaly. However,it is a cosmetic improvement only as, without Chiropractic intervention in addition, it will not improve any functional or neuro-developmental deficit.
  4. Using a Mimos Pillow is a safe and effective way to redistribute the pressure of your baby’s head when sleeping. It is a flattened, circular pillow with a depression in the centre upon which, you place your baby’s head when you lay him down to sleep. The pillow has the effect of greatly increasing the area of baby’s head in contact with the pillow. This decreases pressure on any one spot, by redistributing the weight over a much larger area.
  5. Your Brookvale Chiropractor will suggest gentle exercisesas part of the ongoing care provided by the Neurobalance Clinic. For example, Dr. Veronesi might suggest using a swiss ball (pilates or exercise ball) and placing your baby face down on this and gently rocking him to and fro. Done for just a couple of minutes two or three times a day, this has the effect of helping to engage the postural muscles of the spine.

Parentsof an affected infant, seeking help for the cosmetic effects of plagiocephaly and for the potential functional and cognitive problems that may be associated are relieved to find that not only is Chiropractic treatment for the condition, safe, gentle and effective, but that there are also a number of things they can do at home to help their child. Contact your Northern Beaches Chiropractor at the Neurobalance Clinic today on 02 9938 5456 to find out more.