Paediatric Osteopathy for Babies and Children

Osteopathy for Babies

Babies skeletons are softer than an adults with the need for the head to be malleable enough to squeeze through the birth canal during the birthing process. This malleability and the elasticity of their tissues means that they are very receptive to osteopathic treatment, which involves a combination of very gentle techniques including cranial osteopathy, massage, stretching and joint release. Some of these techniques are very subtle so feel free to ask us how they are working during the treatment.

This gentle manipulation often results in relaxing your baby and making them easier to soothe. A happy baby makes happy parents and allows you to enjoy this special time, that’s why it’s so satisfying treating them.

Is Osteopathy Safe for Babies?

In short – yes! The techniques used by an osteopath on your baby are very gentle and therefore safe. It is particularly welcomed as it is non invasive and does not involve the use of medication. It instead, like all osteopathy, relies on the inherent self healing mechanisms of the body as long as it is guided in the right direction by your osteopath.

Our Osteopaths will start by taking a thorough case history, to include the mother’s pregnancy and birth history. This will help us understand your baby’s issues. We will then do a thorough examination of your baby to check its general health, responsiveness, symmetry of muscle tone and movement, head shape and ability to meet movement milestones. This is essential as it allows an osteopath to advise the best course of management, whether that be treatment, exercises for parent and baby, referral or a combination of the three.

Our osteopath, Francesca has a special interest in treating babies and has undertaken post graduate courses in this field.

Osteopathy is safe to carry out on babies of any age. Generally the sooner the better, whilst their tissues are so pliable. Occasionally if we have been treating a mother throughout her pregnancy, we will book the baby an appointment to come in a few weeks after the due date, before the baby is even born. It is lovely to meet and check the baby that we have been taking care of through the treatment of mum.

This entirely depends on the needs of the specific baby and the advice of the osteopath. Generally though stress and strains that have occurred in utero during the pregnancy, such as the babie’s head being wedged for some time under the mother’s ribcage, can take more time to unwind than those occurring during the birthing process.

Occasionally babies are bought to us just for a check over and are advised to come back for another check at about a year of age, or if they have had any bad tumbles during their experimentation of walking! Babies with more complex needs, or those with more specific presentations may benefit from more sessions.

As osteopaths we view each patient regardless of age as a case by case presentation. This means we will never treat one patient quite like another and therefore it is important to get to know the patient through examination and questioning, before advising the best treatment plan.

Osteopathy for Children

As your child grows and explores the world they are prone to falls, bumps and strains. Most of these the body is able to repair, however sometimes just like with adults, they need a gentle hand to resolve them and prevent strains building up in the body.

During fast growth and adolescence bones are typically growing faster than the muscles which can result in them becoming tight, especially in the more active child. This can sometimes cause tears and inflammation of the tendons (the attachment point of the muscle to the bone) or inflammation of the growth plates of that bone – as in the case of Osgood Schlatters effecting the knee and Severs effecting the heel.

Other conditions that we see in older children and teenagers include

  • Musculoskeletal aches and pains often related to posture. This is particularly noticeable with the increase use of electronic devices in and out of school and can often lead to headaches.
  • Neck related headaches. This can have an impact on your child’s ability to concentrate and learn.
  • Childhood Scoliosis ( curvature of the spine ). This is something that we are trained to recognise and refer if significant.

As with babies we use gentle manual techniques to help rebalance your child’s musculoskeletal system and relieve tensions.

Postural advice and exercise prescription are given where necessary – but with a realisation that they need to be kept fun and brief for them to be compliant!!