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Positioning for Plagiocephaly: Understanding, Effects on Your Baby, and Treatments

paediatrics plagiocephaly Aug 17, 2023
Plagiocephaly helmet

Plagiocephaly, commonly referred to as Flat Head Syndrome, is a prevalent concern prompting parents to seek guidance for their infants. Discover comprehensive insights into:

  1. What is Plagiocephaly?
  2. Causes and Occurrence
  3. Impact on Infant Health
  4. Identifying Plagiocephaly
  5. Effective Treatment Approaches

Exploring Deformational Plagiocephaly

Deformational plagiocephaly, also known as flat-head syndrome, pertains to the distortion of an infant's skull shape. During the prenatal and postnatal stages, an infant's skull is malleable. The flexibility of the skull facilitates its reshaping during birth and growth, causing primary and secondary plagiocephaly, respectively. Secondary plagiocephaly arises from pressures in the cervical and cranial tissues, while synostotic plagiocephaly results from premature cranial suture fusion.

Triggers of Plagiocephaly

Numerous factors contribute to deformational plagiocephaly, encompassing:

  1. Position in the Uterus: Particularly relevant in multiple pregnancies.
  2. Birth Canal Distortion: Occurs during the birthing process.
  3. Assisted Birth Methods: Involving forceps or vacuum suction.
  4. Prolonged Stillness: Extended periods in one posture.
  5. Baby Gear Usage: Excessive time in capsules or cots.

Diverse Forms of Plagiocephaly

A diverse range of plagiocephaly forms exists, each with distinct characteristics.

Health Implications for Your Infant

Most plagiocephaly instances self-resolve as infants develop, usually lacking lasting health consequences. Notably, positional plagiocephaly does not hinder brain development. However, persistent cases might lead to developmental delays, like fine and gross motor skill coordination issues. Untreated plagiocephaly can also alter facial and cranial growth, manifesting as uneven features and expressions.

Detecting Plagiocephaly in Your Baby

Though minor head asymmetry is common in newborns, heightened distortion or consistent head tilting warrant professional evaluation. Seeking medical guidance is advisable if severe distortion persists beyond two months or if the baby favors one side while lying down.

Available Treatment Methods

As an Advanced Paediatric Osteopath, I specialize in evaluating and addressing plagiocephaly, including torticollis. Tailored treatments encompass:

  1. Manual Therapy: Gentle techniques targeting neck and shoulder muscles that restrict head movement.
  2. Active Movement Encouragement: Recommendations for activities fostering neck mobility.
  3. Tummy Time Exercises: Promoting overall movement development.
  4. Positional Guidance: Varying carrying positions and alternating sleep head orientations.
  5. Mattress Recommendations: Opt for LifeNest™'s innovative cradle, reducing cranial pressure.
  6. Helmet Therapy: In some severe instances, helmet therapy could be beneficial. We'll elaborate on this in a forthcoming post.

Understanding plagiocephaly's dynamics empowers informed choices regarding your child's well-being. For personalized insights and guidance, trust our expertise at Completely Aligned, where optimal infant positioning takes precedence.

Take a proactive step towards optimal development by scheduling an appointment – online or in-person. Our team are here to guide you through personalised strategies for your child.

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