Our Children's clinic is run by our osteopath, Lucy Ross-Browne. With over 12 years' experience treating children, and a mother of 2 herself, she understands well the demands of a new baby and specialises in cranial osteopathy.
Birth is quite possibly one of the biggest physical stresses that we go through in our lives and the effect that it can have on the head and body of a baby may produce problems. Complications in labor or interventions such as forceps, vontouse and Caesarean section can all add to the birth stress.
The bones of the newborn's skull are made of membrane and cartilage rather than bone so it is quite common to see an odd shaped head after a difficult birth. This head moulding often settles in a few days with normal feeding and crying behaviour. However, sometimes, when the moulding does not correct itself completely, the baby may be subjected to uncomfortable strains and compressions through the neck and shoulders. The physical efforts of a complicated labour or birth can also have a bearing on the baby's abdomen and thorax.
The osteopath treating cranially uses very gentle but specific touch to release these compressions in both the head and the rest of the body which can help alleviate symptoms. During the examination areas of tension are often found in the baby's spine or head, which are indications that the baby is uncomfortable. A baby cannot complain of backache or headache, and will typically express this by crying and being unsettled or irritable.
The presence of a new baby in the world is a big change and the presence of symptoms can be hard to distinguish from "normal". A baby having gone through any birth complications is better examined and treated earlier rather than later. Our youngest patients have been just a day or two old.
In a research study conducted by Clive Hayden into the effects of cranial osteopathic treatment on babies, some parents perceived the following changes in their children's behaviour: Reduced colicky crying, improved sleep, less unsettled irritable behaviour and increased quiet happy spells.
Treatment is very gentle and babies will be treated around what suits them – often while feeding or asleep!
Toddlers and young children can have developmental problems of their own relating to many factors such as their growth rate and being more active (therefore more accidents happen), etc.
Some aspects of the older child's problems may involve more muscle stretching, joint moving and exercises if appropriate. To this extent, the osteopath will take guidance from the parents or guardian and the non prescriptive, individually tailored, treatment and advice will be fully discussed.
For more information on cranial osteopathy in the U.K please visit the Sutherland Society website
Lucy gives regular talks about cranial osteopathy to groups to mums and healthcare professionals in Dorset (in Wimborne, Colehill, Verwood, Bournemouth and Poole). If you would like her to speak to your group please do not hesiaite to contact The Practice.