Infant Head Shape Deformity Improved Under Chiropractic According to Study

What is Plagiocephaly? Can Austin Chiropractors Help Infants with Head Deformity?

A cohort study published in the December 2016 issue of the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics showed that chiropractic care helped reduce the time for correction of head shape deformity in infants. Head shape deformity, called plagiocephaly, is described in the study as ¬†“…an asymmetry in the shape of the skull.”

Infant Head Shape Deformity Improved Under Chiropractic According to Study - Austin Texas Pediatrician Chiropractor Health Wellness Newborn Infant BabyEstimates as to how common plagiocephaly is vary from 16-21% at 6-7 weeks old, and 20% at 4 months old, to 47% of infants aged 7-12 weeks old. Most cases are first noticed by parents at various ages and may account for the variation of percentages. The cause of irregular head shape is thought to be external pressures on the skull before birth during development.

There is some disagreement between medical authorities as to whether or not plagiocephaly has an effect on the health and development of a child. The UK National Health Service (NHS) states plagiocephaly is cosmetic only, while other authorities suggest that this condition has been shown to be related to learning disabilities, dysfunctional auditory processing, and developmental delay in the gross motor and cognitive issues.

Chiropractic care for cases of plagiocephaly is focused on the neck and not rendered directly to the head. The study authors describe the purpose of care by saying, “chiropractors commonly manage infants with plagiocephaly and treat the cervical spine to achieve full range and freedom of motion so that the infant is not stuck in one position. If the head can be freely moved, then the pressure on the cranium will be equally distributed and the skull will, ideally, become symmetrical.”

The study was conducted at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) clinic, in Bournemouth, UK. In this study, 64 infants and babies with plagiocephaly were examined and measurements of their head shape were made. Most infants in this study were born at full-term with 56% being assisted births and 44% being natural vaginal deliveries. The breakdown showed that there were 62.5% males and 37.5% females. The average age was 11.5 weeks old with the range being from 2 to 44 weeks of age.

The chiropractic care given was in accordance with the standard protocol for children of this age at the school clinic. Head shape measurements were taken at the 1st, 4th and 7th chiropractic visit, with a six week follow up done later. All participants achieved a full range of neck motion from the chiropractic care. As expected, the size of the infant’s heads increased accounting for normal growth.

The results showed that the infants’ plagiocephaly measurement significantly reduced over the course of chiropractic care. Of the 64 infants and babies in the study, 20 showed a complete resolution of head deformation. The remainder of the babies all showed significant reductions of plagiocephaly above what would normally have occurred as the babies grew.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, “This study showed a significant reduction in head deformity in infants during a course of six weeks of chiropractic care.” They continued to explain that these results do not suggest a cause and effect relationship but rather a possible approach to helping plagiocephaly. They noted that chiropractic may have facilitated a faster correction of the normal head shape than would normally occur, saying “…the improvements in head shape occurred earlier than the natural course of the condition.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson. We are located in north central Austin, TX.


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Speech and Coordination Developmental Delays Helped by Chiropractic – A Case Study

Can Chiropractic Help With My Kids Development? Do Chiropractors See Children?

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a study on October 10, 2016, reporting on the case of a toddler suffering with developmental delays in speech and coordination being helped through chiropractic care.

speech-and-coordination-developmental-delays-helped-by-chiropractic-austin-tx-chiropractor-pediatric-health-wellness-safe-pregnancy-laborThe study begins by discussing the increased usage of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) by children. CAM consists of a wide variety of non-medical forms of health care. While some classify chiropractic as a separate and distinct form of healthcare, many classify it within the umbrella of CAM professions. The authors note that several studies have shown that chiropractic is the most popular form of CAM for children in the U.S. since an initial study in 2007. They report that one in four children with common neurological conditions use some form of CAM.

In this case, a 2-year-old boy was brought to a chiropractic clinical training center for evaluation. The toddler had developmental delays in speech and coordination. According to his mother, her son was delayed and had consistently failed to meet developmental milestones. His symptoms included below average locomotion skill, delayed hearing comprehension and expressive communication, and difficulty swallowing certain food textures. The boy was born several weeks pre-mature and had suffered one seizure when he was three months old.

The boy had been receiving speech and physical therapy for one year prior to any chiropractic care. The therapy did show some signs of improvement. The therapy consisted of 30-minute sessions twice a month for six months designed to increase the child’s motor skills through the use of therapeutic play, gait training, ball skills and a home program. The boy’s physical therapist performed several standardized tests prior to chiropractic care that measured and confirmed the boy was developmentally delayed.

An examination was performed which included a visual inspection, palpation, and a postural analysis. Based upon the history and the examination, subluxations were determined to be present affecting the child’s spine and nervous system. Specific chiropractic adjustments were given to address the subluxations.

The study records that the boy responded well to care with a steady improvement in his speech and coordination. His mother also reported that his “outbreaks” had decreased to only occurring rarely, late at night, if her son was tired. In a follow up examination performed by the physical therapist after starting chiropractic care, there was a continual improvement in the boy’s developmental issues.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, “This case report informs clinical practice and research on the possible benefits of chiropractic care in children with developmental delays through chiropractic adjustments to address the presence of subluxations.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson. We are located in north central Austin, TX.


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