Many people are surprised to hear that osteopaths treat babies and a common question I get asked is how such a young baby can have much stress or strain in their body at all. But problems all start from probably the most stressful event of our lives, birth.
The baby is subjected to enormous forces during birth. The baby has to twist and turn as it squeezes through the bony pelvis. The baby’s head has the remarkable ability to absorb these stresses in a normal delivery as the soft bones of the skull overlap, bend and warp to reduce the size of the head. Many babies are born with odd shaped heads as a result, although it will lose the extreme moulded shape in the first few days as the baby suckles, cries and yawns.
However, this process is often incomplete, especially if the birth has been difficult, and the baby might be living with some very uncomfortable stresses within its head and body. Some babies can cope well with this but others can display a variety of problems.
A course of treatment can often alleviate stresses on the nerves, muscles and delicate bones of the skull to help babies to grow free of pain and discomfort.
Reactions to treatment are variable, often the baby or child is very relaxed afterwards and sleeps well. Others have a burst of energy after treatment, usually followed by a good night sleep. Occasionally the child may seem unsettled and this is merely because treatment may take a few hours or days to complete. Depending on the problem, treatment is usually completed within 2 to 6 visits.