A study published in the September 19, 2019, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health showed that chiropractic care can help infants and babies who have misshapen heads known as plagiocephaly. When the deformation of a baby’s head is not caused by a congenital anomaly, or it occurs during birth or after the infant is born due to positioning, it is referred to as positional plagiocephaly.
In describing this condition the authors of the study noted, “When the overall shape of the skull becomes asymmetrical as a result of direct pressure it can be termed deformational plagiocephaly. According to the International Society for Pediatric Neurology, 20% of infants at 2 months old have plagiocephaly and as many as 29.5% have it at 2 years old.”
According to the study, the “Back to Sleep” program, which started in 1992, saw an increase of positional plagiocephaly as babies were made to sleep on their back earlier that was normal for them. The Back to Sleep program was an attempt to decrease the incidence of Sudden Infant Death syndrome, (SIDs).
Common medical treatment for positional plagiocephaly is having the baby wear a helmet for up to 23 hours each day for 2-6 months. This approach does carry some adverse effects including pressure sores, skin irritation, and infection.
In this case series, three babies were brought in for a chiropractic evaluation by their parents to see if chiropractic could help them. All three infants were 2.5 months old and were brought to the chiropractor by their parents who were concerned with the shape of their baby’s head as well as the possible consequences of leaving their babies’ untreated.
All three babies were given specific forms of chiropractic adjustments with the goal of reducing vertebral subluxation that were detected to be present. In all three cases, the authors of the study reported that the babies’ heads showed improvement and were more symmetrical within several weeks of chiropractic care. They also reported that other symptoms and health issues were also improved, creating an improved quality of life for the infants.
In the conclusion of the study, the authors wrote, “The results of this case series show the improvement of plagiocephaly in three infants following subluxation-based chiropractic care. This suggests that chiropractic care may be underutilized as a conservative management for children with plagiocephaly.”