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.


Now You Know, Inc.
Share Button

Health Issues Caused by Birth Trauma Helped by Chiropractic

Do Chiropractors Care for Infants? How Does Chiropractic Care Help Birth Trauma?

On March 21, 2016, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study showing chiropractic helping an infant with multiple health issues resulting from a traumatic birth.

Health Issues Caused by Birth Trauma Helped by Chiropractic - Chiropractor Austin Texas help for pain from car accidentThe study begins by noting that about 5% of all births in the U.S. are either by forceps or by vacuum extraction.  They report that forceps delivery is associated with an increased death rate during birth, and that vacuum extractions are associated with increased head injuries, facial paralysis, and other head and nerve problems. Chiropractors are interested in this problem from a standpoint of the effect these types of births have on the upper portion of the neck.

In this study, a 6-week-old baby boy was brought to the chiropractor for consultation and possible care with problems of infantile colic, acid reflux, restlessness, inability to relax and/or lay on his back, difficulty sleeping and general irritability. The baby’s mother described her son as being fussy, restless, always tense and frustrated. She reported that in the first six weeks of life he was screaming and could not be comforted during all his waking hours. While sleeping, the infant would moan and whimper.

The baby had been given a medical diagnosis of acid reflux and infantile colic and he was given the label of a “high needs baby.” With this diagnosis, the infant was prescribed and given a generic form of the medication Zantac for his colic and reflux.

A history of the birth process revealed that infant’s mother did not experience any contractions prior to the beginning of labor. After only 17 minutes, it was reported that the baby’s heart rate had decreased. Because of this, an episiotomy was performed and the baby was pulled out with the aid of vacuum extraction. This resulted in a large bruise on the infant’s skull from the vacuum extraction.

A chiropractic examination of the infant revealed the presence of multiple vertebral subluxations, including several in the upper neck region.  Chiropractic adjustments were performed  specific to the subluxations, and the age and size of the infant.

After the first adjustment, the mother reported that her son had the longest nap he had experienced since birth. The parents also reported that within the first week, the infant had six large bowel movements within 36 hours of being adjusted, was less fussy, less gassy, sleeping more soundly and peacefully, showed improved postural alignment of the neck and entire body, and appeared to be much happier, more comfortable, and demonstrated an overall improved demeanor. After several more visits, the child no longer had any of the digestive issues or other health concerns seen on the initial evaluation.

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.


Now You Know, Inc.
Share Button