Flat head syndrome

A flat head, also known as plagiocephaly can be caused by restrictions of movement in the neck, tightness of the neck muscles or compression at the base of the skull.

All of these mean that when your baby lies on its back to sleep, it will lie mostly on the same side or the same position. As the head is reasonably soft it may become flat.

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What you may notice:

  • Your baby’s head looks asymmetrical
  • Either directly after delivery or a couple of weeks after birth you may notice a flat area developing.
  • Your baby feeds much better on one side
  • Your baby prefers to look one way and may not be able to turn its head fully to the opposite side.
  • Your baby sleeps to only one side.

Plagiocephaly is distortion of the head and cranial asymmetry and is often completely an avoidable problem if diagnosed and treated early. Look out for the above signs.

What can you do to help prevent plagiocephaly?

  • Stimulate or attract your baby’s attention to the side your baby avoids
  • When you are with your baby, lay it on its stomach to help lengthen and strengthen the neck.
  • When your baby is asleep, turn your baby’s head away from its preferable side.
  • Remember to always ensure your baby sleeps on its back.

Babies who are developing flat heads should be seen as quickly as possible – the sooner the problem is identified, the sooner the cause can be identified and treated.

What will an osteopath do?

The osteopath’s main aim will be to get full range of movement in the neck using muscle and fascia stretches, articulating the neck joints and using cranial techniques.

Treatment is gentle and babies are usually quite settled during treatment. With full range of neck movement, the head stops becoming flatter.

The osteopath will also give you exercise and postural advice to prevent the stiffness re-occurring.

More information can be found about how we can help you at http://www.kaneandross.co.uk

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