Osteopathy for children
Children require special attention in both medicine and osteopathy. Children are not small adults but are both physically and mentally in full development. Each development phase requires a different approach and has its own characteristics and childhood diseases. A baby is different from a toddler and a toddler is different from an infant or adolescent. If a problem occurs in one of the phases of development, it has implications for the overall development of a child. Each child therefore requires its own unique approach!
Investigations and therapy
For the treatment of babies and children an inventory consult will first take place where information is collected about the child through an extensive questionnaire to the parents and by observation of the child by the osteopath.
For the investigation, the child can be undressed up to the diaper or underpants. Subsequently, the osteopath will for example observe the activity level of the child and its movements. After having observed the body as a whole, individual parts will be examined. The osteopath will discuss the different elements such as the skull-bones, neck, back, pelvis, abdomen and possibly palpate and move the joints gently. Children usually experience the treatment as pleasant.
Bring for the investigation and treatment sessions always a favorite toy or book. Also a cuddle toy or teat allows your child to feel quickly at ease. Make sure your child always arrives with a filled stomach into practice. You can always bring additional bottle feeding.
Most people think that babies or small children have no tension or stress in their body because they are so young and flexible. In practice, this will often be different. Even a seemingly easy childbirth is very demanding for the baby and the mother. During childbirth the baby's head, chest, spine and pelvis are actually exposed to enormous forces. For instance, the skull bones are shifted to reduce the size of the head and to enable extrusion through the pelvic opening. Because the structures of the head are still flexible this generally does not lead to problems.
However, sometimes the birth process proceeds less smoothly due to prolonged contractions, slow womb opening or vacuum delivery. This can have an impact on the baby and thereby can become a confounding factor in the development of the child. As a matter of fact, the child will always try to adapt to the limitations caused by the delivery. An osteopathic check-up and a possible therapy after birth, may therefore be of great value for the development of a child.
Frequently crying babies
When a baby is crying a long time, more than three hours a day, this can be considered a frequently crying baby. Sometimes there is no immediate cause for this. The baby is restless or inconsolable, will not sleep or be cuddled, is not eating properly, has a swollen belly or is suffering from cramps. The osteopath can in many cases address this. Through gentle touching of the body he studies movement limitations in the skull, and any blockages in neck or back which can cause numerous complaints, such as impaired bowel function or poor swallowing. Next he tries to improve mobility of the tissues which reduces overstimulation by the nervous system. This approach will make it easier for children to relax. In a way, the osteopath is sensing what is bothering the baby’s body.
Reflux and intestinal cramps
Reflux (spitting) and intestinal cramps can occur by an overexcited nervous system. An over-stimulated gut can be caused by an imbalance in the nervous system as a result of blockages in the body. Correcting these blockages and treating the skull may take care that the nerve, which controls the intestines up from the skull, is less excited and that symptoms are reduced.
Ear and sinus infections
Recurrent ear infections are often related to a reduced fluid drainage from the middle ear through the Eustachian tube. This process may be disabled if skull bones through which the tube is running, are less mobile. Inflammation of the cavities are often the result of issues with the fluid drainage of the face. This causes throat and respiratory infections.
The acronym KISS stands for Kopfgelenk Induzierte Symmetry Störungen which is a group of asymmetrical postures that find their origin in the upper cervical vertebrae and skull joints. Not only in practice but also studies show that the performance of the upper neck joints are of great importance to the posture and motor development of the newborn. Thus also sucking and swallowing reflexes are affected by the skull base and the first vertebrae.
Asymmetry of the infant is one of the clearest signs of the KISS-syndrome. Some babies do not exhibit behavior of intens and inconsolable crying, resulting in too late discovery of an asymmetrical lying position. The skull can sometimes already be flattened after 4 weeks and cause asymmetrical development of the whole body. Not every skull asymmetry is due to the KISS-syndrome. Also a certain position or preferred posture in the womb can cause asymmetry. And children born with a nice round head can still develop a skull asymmetry by constantly lying in the same position in their cradle.
The osteopath will treat the baby with soft tissue-relaxing techniques. He will never proceed to manipulation or cracking of the joints.