Posted on: 14 August 2017Share
Being born is physically demanding on both baby and mother, so it's no surprise that, even after a normal delivery, babies can have a few problems where nerves are pinched or skull bones don't quite go back in the right place. You may never have heard of it, but cranial osteopathy is one treatment that may help with some of these problems. What is it, and how can it help?
What Is It?
It's a treatment carried out by specially trained osteopaths involving the application of gentle pressure to the baby's head, neck and spine to ease the tension remaining after the birth. This is carried out whilst the baby is lying down and it's not uncommon for him/her to fall asleep during or shortly after the treatment. The tension could be caused by a difficult birth, especially if he went through assisted forceps or ventouse delivery, or where the overlapping bones in the skull, designed to compress to allow transition through the birth channel, don't go back into place properly or painlessly. You might see some physical signs of this tension, for instance if he/she tends to curl to one side when you hold him/her upright.
Helping Feeding Problems
Sometimes birth trauma can affect the nerves at the base of the skull that link to the tongue and face making sticking difficult and leading to problems latching on. Tension or deformation in the diaphragm can cause trapped wind or acid reflux which can be painful for a baby and potentially lead to colic or colic-like symptoms which medication may only be partially successful in treating. Cranial osteopathy can help free the nerves, reduce the pain and make feeding a happier experience for all concerned.
Helping Sleep Problems
A baby's skull is made of different bones that are designed to overlap during birth to allow the head to fit through the birth canal. birth, the bones should separate again, leading to gaps such as the fontanelle, to give enough room for his brain to grow as he develops. Occasionally the bones don't separate as well as they should which can cause pain that may worsen when he lies down. The pain can also keep the nervous system on alert preventing him from getting proper sleep. Whilst we don't know what it's like for a baby, most adults have experienced the sleeping problems a headache can bring.
Preventing Ear Problems
Babies and young children are more prone to ear infections and conditions like glue ear. They're caused when the Eustachian tube, designed to drain mucus from the middle ear, gets blocked. The Eustachian tube also prevents damage to the ear drum from pressure changes, the air moving through the tube to equalize pressure is where the popping sound comes from when you're flying, which can lead to hearing loss. The tube is much shorter and narrower in children making them more vulnerable to infection, and cranial osteopathy can help reduce the likelihood of any problems from blockages.
Finding a Cranial Osteopath
If you think cranial osteopathy may be helpful for your baby, it's vital that you make sure you go to a licensed professional who's had the necessary additional training to treat children. Seeking advice from your healthcare provider, checking the medical register and getting recommendations from other parents should help you find the right person for your needs.
Cranial osteopathy may not always cure feeding, colic or deep problems, but it's an option worth exploring if you're faced with a screaming baby who won't sleep and nothing else is working.