Pediatric Osteopathy shows there is no better Osteopathic teacher than the child.
It is a common belief that children and babies should have no structural stresses and strains in their body, due to their young age, flexibility and the obvious fact that they are much less likely to have incurred the injuries and strains of an adult. The reality, however, is very different.
The birth process is one of the most stressful experiences. The baby is subjected to enormous forces as the uterus contracts to expel the baby against the natural resistance of the birth canal. The baby’s head has the ability to adapt and change shape to the forces exerted against it in response to labour. The soft bones of the skull overlap and mould as the uterus squeezes the baby down and out of the birth canal. The distortions in the head as a result of labour are usually released naturally with feeding and crying. However, in some cases, the distortions remain and may possibly affect growth and development.
There are many reasons behind the classification of a difficult and stressful birth, for both mother and baby. Such difficulties may present as abnormal fetal positioning during pregnancy (breech or posterior), long, lengthy labours, very quick labours, ventouse or forceps deliveries, breech and face presentations, premature deliveries, cord-around-the-neck and Caesarian deliveries. As a result, the baby may be unable to fully resolve the effects of birth.
If these patterns remain unresolved, the baby has to adapt and accommodate these stresses and strains as they grow. This may result in the baby being physically uncomfortable and unhappy, or to develop in an asymmetrical way throughout the whole of the body. These babies may present with crying and irritability, feeding difficulties or difficulty latching, colic, spitting up and regurgitation, thumb sucking, sleep disturbances, head scratching and banging, abnormal head shape (plagiocephaly), and difficulty with teething.
Unresolved birth stresses, and the body’s compensations to them, are at the root cause of many different problems in both childhood and well into adulthood. These stresses can usually be treated very quickly after birth, but become progressively more difficult to eliminate the longer they are present.
Osteopathic treatments for babies are extremely gentle, and completely safe even for newborns. It is never too early to treat.
As children mature, they generally grow out of most of the crying, fussiness, difficulty sleeping and feeding etc. that they may have experienced as young babies. However, if the retained strain patterns and moulding are not treated, they may begin to suffer from secondary effects as they continue to grow and develop. This may make it difficult to sit still and focus, and may result in poor concentration affecting behaviour and learning.
PEDIATRIC CONDITIONS TREATED BY OSTEOPATHY
- ADHA (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Bed wetting
- Behavioural problems and hyperactivity
- Chest infections
- Delayed growth
- Difficulties with fine and gross motor skills
- Ear infections (otitis media)
- Growing pains
- Headaches and migraines
- Learning difficulties
- Sinus problems and mouth breathers
- Post-Concussion Syndrome
Many people are surprised to learn that Osteopathy can be used to treat infections of all kinds. The majority of children present with ear infections (otitis media) and chest infections at some time. When strain patterns are released and rebalanced throughout the cranium and body, the lymphatic system is able to respond more efficiently and its system of tiny channels that return excess fluid from the periphery of the body back to the venous system is free to work. It is within this system much of the immune response lies. When there is efficiency and freedom of the lymphatics, healthy blood and nerve flow to and from an area are established, and thus the healing process can begin.
Regular Osteopathic treatment can help realign the child’s body after falls and sporting injuries, and resolving these strain patterns in a child can further prevent problems developing later on, even into adulthood. Children do not need treatment for every minor bump and bruise, but occasionally a child has a particularly serious fall whereby they are stunned or shocked. With falls such as these, parents may notice a change in the child's behaviour, a change in sleep patterns, or the child may succumb to an infective illness. It is recommended to have the child checked over after such events to help them fully release the effects of the incident which have not resolved themselves.
Osteopathy works with the body’s innate capacity to heal itself and establish overall health and wellbeing. In children the body’s response to self-heal is very strong and often results in a quick recovery with Osteopathic treatment.