Fussy Baby with Abnormal Head Shape, Torticollis, and Sleeping Issues Helped by Chiropractic

In the November 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics is a documented case study of a baby with multiple issues, including an irregular head shape, being helped with chiropractic. Abnormal head shape is known as plagiocephaly, and can come from the pressure of being on one side excessively.

The study authors report that plagiocephaly may have become more common since the introduction of the back to sleep program in 1992, where it was recommended that infants be put to sleep only lying on their backs. They also note that one study from Canada reports the incidence of plagiocephaly at 45.6% with 21.7% being a more severe form.

In this case, a 6-month-old baby girl was brought to the chiropractor by her mother. The mother was concerned that her baby seemed to persistently favor turning her head to the left, and that her skull was deformed in shape. The baby had a pediatric check-up just three months earlier where everything checked out fine. One week after that examination, the baby’s issues started. The baby was also experiencing difficulty in breast feeding and problems with sleeping.

The mother brought her baby to the chiropractor to try to avoid medical care for her head shape problem. Typically, medical intervention used in these cases is helmet therapy, which involves having a baby wear a helmet for a lengthy period of time. Other medical approaches include head repositioning, botox injections into the neck muscles, or even surgery in the more extreme treatments.

A pediatric chiropractic examination was performed where it was determined that the child had multiple subluxations in the neck. To correct these subluxations, specific light force adjustments were performed over the next several weeks. Advice was also given to the mother to entice the infant to turn her head toward the opposite side.

The study reports that immediately following the first adjustment, the chiropractor and mother noticed that the infant exhibited a more willing and active motion towards her less favored side of rotation. By the second visit, the mother reported that her baby girl now had regular sleep patterns and was not having any episodes of regurgitation or fussiness with breast feeding. By the age of nine months, the infant had no cranial shape abnormality detectable, and all of her other problems had completely resolved.

In their conclusion, the authors of the study wrote, “The chiropractic care of newborns could potentially be a key component in addressing the integrity of an infant’s nervous system, in a safe and conservative way.”

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