Does Your Child Have Plagiocephaly? Chiropractor Glen Alvie
What is Plagiocephaly?
Deformational Plagiocephaly is a condition characterised by a flat spot on the back or one side of the head precipitated by asymmetrical pressure on the infant skull. This may be due to intra-uterine pressure, the birth process, extended time spent in a neonatal unit, or most often, the infant’s preferred sleeping position. Often a child who exhibits a reluctance to rotate their head to one side will develop this preferred sleeping position, which in turn can produce a flat spot on the skull. Chiropractic has been shown to be a very effective form of therapy for Deformational Plagiocephaly.
For many years medical doctors have viewed plagiocephaly as only a cosmetic issue, confidently saying to parents that the head will naturally assume a more symmetrical shape as the child gets older. Unfortunately however, the research very strongly supports the fact that this does not happen, and that developmental delays are associated with plagiocephaly.
‘Case-control study of neurodevelopment in deformational plagiocephaly’ was published in Pediatrics in 2010. The study assessed the neurodevelopment of infants with and without deformational plagiocephaly at an average age of six months and concluded: “Deformational plagiocephaly seems to be associated with early neurodevelopmental disadvantage, which is most evident in motor functions.” (1)
A study published in Pediatrics in 2000, ‘Long-term developmental outcomes in patients with deformational plagiocephaly’ concluded: “Infants with deformational plagiocephaly comprise a high-risk group for developmental difficulties presenting as subtle problems of cerebral dysfunction during the school age years.” (2)
A study published in 2009 ‘Are infants with torticollis at risk of a delay in early motor milestones compared with a control group of healthy infants?’ demonstrated that the congenital muscular torticollis group achieved early motor milestones significantly later than the control group. (3)
1.Case-control study of neurodevelopment in deformational plagiocephaly. Speltz ML, Collett BR, Stott-Miller M, Starr JR, Heike C, Wolfram-Aduan AM, King D, Cunningham ML. Pediatrics. 2010 Mar;125(3):e537-42. Epub 2010 Feb 15.
2.Pediatrics. 2000 Feb;105(2):E26. Long-term developmental outcomes in patients with deformational plagiocephaly. Miller RI, Clarren SK.
3.Dev Med Child Neurol. 2009 Jul;51(7):545-50. Epub 2009 Jan 26. Are infants with torticollis at risk of a delay in early motor milestones compared with a control group of healthy infants? Ohman A, Nilsson S, Lagerkvist AL, Beckung E.
Chiropractic Management of Plagiocephaly
Chiropractic management involves restoring normal movement to the infants neck as well as attention to the shape of the infants skull. This is achieved through very gentle and passive joint and muscle work as well as cranial bone remoulding. This is a very safe form of therapy which the child tolerates very easily. (In fact many babies often sleep through the entire process).
Chiropractors all over the world see infants with this condition every week and it is a condition managed very well by chiropractic. In many cases children are referred from their maternal health nurse, doctor or paediatrician.