Written By: Celine Gallet
Often people wonder why a child would benefit from osteopathic treatment. After all, small bodies are very flexible and much less prone to the strains and injuries of the more mature patient.
Being born however is one of the most stressful events we may ever experience. The soft bones of a baby’s skull overlap or ‘mould’ as the contractile forces of the uterus squeeze the baby down the birth canal. Generally after birth the moulding resolves naturally with feeding and crying. In some cases however, some of the strains remain.
Osteopathic Practitioners believe that retained moulding in the skull and restrictions in a baby’s body are an important factor in reflux, colic, difficulties feeding and bringing up wind, vomiting, irritability, poor sleeping, ear infections and plagiocephaly.
Although the baby doesn’t pass through the birth canal in a Caesarian delivery often they still suffer problems.
With a planned C-section a baby doesn’t get much warning of what is about to happen, they are not exposed to the hormonal and physical changes that natural labour would create.Therefore they can still have some shock in their body and they may be irritable, cranky, nervous or jumpy. They have not undergone the pressure of going through the birth canal. Therefore they may be predisposed to lung congestion because their rib cage wasn’t squeezed during birth. They may get recurrent infections and need antibiotics when they are young.
Emergency C-sections can be very traumatic for baby and mother. There is a build up of adrenaline which does not get fully released because in the end the baby is pulled and tugged out in an unnatural way. the baby may have been subject to strong uterine contractions for some time before the decision to operate is made. Retained moulding and body misalignment may still be present and problematic.
Some babies will not engage down into the pelvis properly (for a number of reasons) and a section is inevitable. If a baby has had a transverse or breech lie for some time towards the end of pregnancy he/ she may be left with strains in the body and may show strong preferences for lying on one side only or have habitual use of one side more than the other.
When the baby has not undergone the compression/décompression, he hasn t the normal physiological stimuli that happen with a natural delivery.
Osteopathic Practitioners believe that a child whose body is under continual strain is also more likely to suffer from recurrent infections such as middle ear infections, coughs, tonsillitis and colds. Releasing strain allows the lymphatic system to work more efficiently helping the immune system. It also promotes healthy blood and nerve flow to and from an area again assisting in the healing process.
Osteopathy works with the body’s natural drive toward health and well-being. This drive is very strong in children and they often respond quickly to osteopathic treatment. Helping the body realign itself allows resolution of the issue.
On its own one residual strain may not be severe enough to cause a complaint. As further injuries are suffered and partially resolved however, the residual strains accumulate in the body. The body may then come to a point where it is unable to compensate for all of the strains together. It loses its point of balance.
The trained hands of an osteopathic practitioner can detect these residual strains and help resolve them before they become a problem.