As many of you know I am a Cranial practitioner as well as a Chiropractor, this technique can be used in the treatment of both children and adults, so I thought that with this instalment of the news letter I might tell you a little about how and why it is used to treat children.
It is a common belief that babies and children should have no structural stresses or strains in their bodies, because they are ‘so young’. The reality is very different. Birth is one of the most stressful events of our lives. The baby is subjected to enormous forces, as the uterus pushes to expel the baby against the natural resistance of the birth canal. The baby has to turn and twist as it squeezes through the pelvis, on its short but highly stimulating and potentially stressful journey.
The baby’s head has the remarkable ability to absorb these stresses in a normal delivery. In order to reduce the size of the head, the soft bones overlap, bend and warp as the baby descends. The baby’s chin is normally well tucked down towards its chest to reduce the presenting diameter of the head.
Many babies are born with odd shaped heads as a result. In the first few days, the head can usually be seen to gradually lose the extreme moulded shape, as the baby suckles, cries and yawns. However, this unmoulding process is often incomplete, especially if the birth has been difficult. As a result, the baby may have to live with some very uncomfortable stresses within the head and body.
What problems can cranial work help with in babies?
Some babies cope extremely well with quite severe retained moulding and compression, and are contented and happy. For others it is a very different story, and they can display a variety of problems. Cranial work may help with:
Crying, screaming, irritability
The baby may be uncomfortable, with a constant pressure in the head. This may be made worse by the pressure on the head when lying down.
The baby takes a long time to feed and one feed merges into the next. They may be a ‘windy’ feeder. Feeding is difficult and tiring due to the mechanical stresses through the head face and throat. The nerves to the tongue may be irritated as they exit from the skull, which makes sucking difficult.
Sickness, colic and wind
Regurgitation of milk between feeds, bouts of prolonged crying due to colic and wind. Often worse in the evening. The nerve to the stomach may be irritated as it exits at the base of the skull, which can impair digestion. The diaphragm between the chest and the abdomen may be stressed or distorted, which further compromises digestion and the ability of the stomach to retain its contents. Stress from a difficult or fast birth can leave the digestive system in tension, trapping wind. Any strain through the umbilical cord, for instance if it was around the baby’s neck, can add to strains in the abdomen.
The baby sleeps for only short periods, and may sleep little in the day (or night!). They wake at the slightest noise – “jumpy”. The tension on the bony and membranous casing of the baby’s skull keeps the nervous system in a persistently alert state.
What problems can cranial work help with in older children?
As the child grows, the effects of the retained moulding can lead to other problems. The following are the most common, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.
Retained moulding and birth stresses take their toll on the body’s reserves, and also deplete the immune system. This leaves children more vulnerable to all types of infection.
Recurrent ear infections gradually become more frequent. May lead to ‘glue ear’ and some temporary loss of hearing. Retained birth compression within and around the bones of the ear impedes fluid drainage from the ear with partial or complete blocking of the Eustachian tube. Infections may never fully clear leaving a vulnerability to the next infection and a depleted immune system.
Sinus and dental problems
Persistent mouth breathers. Constantly blocked or runny nose. Impaired growth and drainage of the sinuses and bones of the face due to retained moulding compression. Later this increases the chance of dental overcrowding.
Behavioural problems, learning difficulties and special needs
Poor concentration, constant fidgeting, difficulty sitting still, hyperactivity. Continuation of the restlessness of a young baby. Retained moulding compression makes them uncomfortable in one position for too long, which becomes habit forming. Sever compression can modify normal patterns of learning in the brain. Severe birth trauma may be a factor in cerebral palsy, and conditions such as Down’s syndrome may involve restrictions within the head and body, which can be helped with cranial treatment.
Headache, aches and pains
Headaches begin age 7-8. Growing pains. Vulnerability to sprains, or other aches and pains. Retained mouldings may focus areas of pressure in the skull, as the bony joints of the skull fully form at around the age of 7-8 years. Patterns of tension retained in other areas make the body more vulnerable to stain and fatigue.
Vulnerability to chest infections. Aggravation of all degrees of asthma from mild to severe. Retained moulding compression can aggravate a tendency to asthma. General lowered immunity leads to more chest infections. After infections, the chest remains tense and the ribs do not return to full function, aggravating an asthmatic tendency. Chiropractic and cranial techniques to release birth stresses and help to improve chest function is often beneficial in reducing the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
Cranial treatment is gentle, safe and effective for babies and children. Very specific, skilled, light pressure is applied where necessary to assist the natural ability of the body to release stresses and tensions.
Could there be any adverse reaction?
Reaction to treatment are variable, often the baby or child is very relaxed afterwards and sleeps well. Others have a burst of energy after the treatment usually followed by a good nights sleep. Occasionally children are unsettled after treatment. This is a temporary situation and usually clears within 24-48 hours.
From the team at Barron Chiropractic Clinic - celebrating 30 years of providing natural healthcare to the people of Walton-on-Thames