Osteopathy for Babies and Children
Is the birth process traumatic for babies?
The birth process can be one of the most stressful events in our lives. Babies are subjected to enormous force as they twist and turn to squeeze through their mum’s pelvis.
Your baby’s head is designed to adapt to this force. The small bones of your baby’s head will overlap and mould to your pelvis, allowing descent through the birth canal. This normal physiological process is called ‘moulding’. During the first few days of life your baby will undergo the normal physiological process of ‘unmoulding’, releasing any strain absorbed during labour and re-establishing health and balance. Yawning, sucking and crying aid this process.
In some cases the molding of the babies head can be retained, especially if the birth was difficult, such as a long labour, a very short labour or one involving intervention such as ventouse or forceps. As both the head and body are compressed and squeezed during this journey, any part of the baby’s head and body can absorb stress and retain strain. This may mean that your baby is experiencing discomfort in their head or body.
A baby will often communicate there is a problem by being unsettled, irritable or wakeful. Symptoms in a newborn baby to be aware of are:
- excessive wind
- continuous crying
- difficulty feeding or a preference to feed from one breast
- sleeping difficulties
- stiffness of the neck muscles
- favouring the head to one side
- a misshapen head (plagiocephaly)
- jaw restriction
Your osteopath at Eastern Osteopathy Melbourne is trained detect any strains or patterns in the body that may be affecting the baby. They use a gentle technique to release any strains or restrictions they find. There are absolutely NO manipulation applied to any of our baby / infant / young child patients.
Osteopathy and infants and older children
At Eastern Osteopathy Melbourne we have observed the following conditions respond very well to osteopathic treatment:
- Headaches, aches and pains
- Stomach migraines
- Growing pains
- Strain from falls or accidents
- Back and neck pain
Injuries in Children
As osteopaths we believe that it can be beneficial for your child to have an osteopathic assessment and treatment if they have a major fall or several smaller falls. Children have an amazing ability to ‘bounce’ when they fall, however some trauma can be retained in the tissues and joints. These strains have the potential to subtly reduce the flexibly of their muscles and joints, predisposing them to strain later in life.
Your osteopath will be able to identify stress and strain that may be present, and then through treatment improve the flexibility in the ligaments, muscles, and joints to hopefully prevent further problems from occurring.
Children’s Sporting Injuries
Sporting injuries are also common in children. Our osteopaths have experience in treating the following sporting injuries in both adults and children:
- Swimmer’s shoulder
- Lower back injuries
- Groin sprain
- Hamstring strain
- Corked thigh
- Osteitis pubis
- Patella tracking disorder
- Sprain or tear of ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL
- Meniscus injuries
- Shin splints and stress fractures
- Compartment syndrome
- Calf strain or tear
- Ankle sprain
- Achilles sprain
We often see young adults with Osgood Schlatter’s and Scheuermann’s disease within our clinic.
What is cranial osteopathy and how can it help my child?
Cranial osteopaths are trained to feel a subtle, whole-body motion that is present within all tissues. This subtle movement is called the Primary Respiratory Mechanism (PRM), or cranial mechanism.
A cranial osteopath is trained to diagnose any strains that are preventing the expression of optimal health. They gently assist the body’s natural self-healing mechanism to release any unwelcome strains and re-establish a state of health and balance.
What to expect from your Child’s Osteopathic Treatment
Before you come to your initial appointment:
- Try and make your child’s appointment at a time of day where your child is generally settled.
- Ensure your child / baby has had a snack before their treatment.
- Please bring favourite toys / books for your child to look at during their treatment.
During the treatment:
- A thorough case history is taken followed by any relevant physical, orthopaedic and osteopathic examination.
- Your osteopath will discuss their findings and a preliminary diagnosis before commencing treatment.
- Treatment involves hands-on techniques, which will help the body to restore its natural state of balance, alignment and function.
- It is common for babies / children to sleep really well after treatment.
- Occasionally there is a period of restlessness that may last from 24-48 hours.