It is a common misconception that babies and children have no problems with the structure of their body as very little stress or strain is placed upon their muscles, joints or bones. But this isn’t true and symptoms can start to develop that if left unchecked, can lead to pain and discomfort through their early life and into adulthood.
Babies have to go through considerable stress during childbirth as they are forced through the birth canal. Their remarkable skulls have soft overlapping bones that shift to squeeze the head into a shape that will allow it to pass. Their chin is also pushed down into the chest to decrease their total diameter. This compression means the baby will have an odd-shaped head on delivery but over the coming days it will remould itself as the baby moves, cries and yawns. However, this natural remoulding does not always take place as it should and the baby could be left with a variety of associated problems.
If a baby is constantly irritable and will only calm when carried, it could be because they are feeling pressure in the head when lying down. If they are taking a long time when feeding it could be due to nerves in the tongue having been damaged by the birthing process as the skull received pressure to the head, face and throat. Sickness, colic and wind problems and regurgitation of milk could be due to the nerve that runs to the stomach having become irritated by the skull compression or from the diaphragm having been stretched which will affect the stomach’s ability to retain food.
As your child grows, the remoulding issue could throw up yet more problems. If the skull hasn’t moulded correctly the child could become vulnerable to infection as their immune system has been depleted during the early stresses placed upon it. Ear infections can be caused by the compression of the skull during childbirth putting strain on the bones around the ear which impedes successful drainage. These infections never fully clear and the child suffers one after another and eventually loss of hearing. Persistent colds and overcrowding of teeth can occur due to the sinuses and bones being impaired from the skull’s moulding compression.
Other problems like asthma, persistent headaches and even behavioural issues can be seen later in life and may be caused by the compression babies have to endure during childbirth. If treated at an early stage with specific osteopathic techniques, these problems could be avoided.
Cranial osteopathy is a specialised treatment that is safe and effective and commonly used on babies and children. A trained osteopath can apply gentle pressure around the head (and body) enabling a release of the stresses of the retained moulding to the skull. A baby or child will often feel relaxed after the treatment and have a good sleep. Sometimes they can react with a heightened sense of alertness while others may be irritable. These are perfectly normal reactions and each baby or child is different.
The treatment should take place ideally before the child reaches the age of five and the earlier it starts the better. It may take more than one session for the remoulding to fully release and typically up to six sessions are sufficient. It is advisable to consult a GP before making an appointment and to find an osteopath that is registered with the General Osteopathic Council. Many osteopaths specialise in this field so check to see if there’s a practitioner in your local area.